When God sprinkles seeds on your heart, what kind of soil will catch them? Is your heart fertile enough to produce a crop?
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:15)
Recently, in the Proverbs 31 First5 app, we studied chapter 8 in Luke. The “parable of the sower” really struck something deep in my soul. How fertile is my heart?
For those of you who may not be familiar with the parable, I’ll sum it up for you. Jesus tells about a farmer who went out and scattered his seed. Some fell on the walking path, where they were trampled. Some fell on rocky ground, where they couldn’t get enough water. Others fell among the thorns that choked the plants as they grew. And then, some of them fell on good soil, where the crop yielded a hundred times more than was sown. (Luke 8: 4-8, summarized)
When the people didn’t understand how to relate this parable to their own lives, Jesus explained further in verses 11-15. The seed is the word of God. How often are these seeds thrown at us? And how fertile is the soil where it lands?
Luke 8: 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
I know I’ve certainly had a “path” heart, where the word would get trampled and lost before it could take root in my life. I definitely wasn’t doing anything to make sure it didn’t get taken away. I’ve experienced a rocky heart as well. There were times when I’d be in church on a Sunday and feel filled with the Spirit, but by mid-week, I was back to my old ways—feeling like the world was crashing all around me. Any little thing that went wrong in my life would lead me away from God instead of toward Him. Most recently, my heart was filled with thorns. (If you missed that post, you can read about that here.) I was stagnant in my spiritual maturity. The thorns were shaped like dollar bills, big houses, new cars, busyness, pride, control, and fear. Those thorns were choking out any goodness being planted in my heart. With all of these (very worldly) thorns, how could the word of God ever take root and get enough nutrition in my heart to flourish?
So how can you give your heart a fertility treatment so that the seeds of God’s word can produce a crop that yields one hundred times more than what is sewn? I know it can seem impossible when you feel like your heart is rocky, thorny, or worn down like a trampled path. First, recognize the condition of your heart. Maybe yours is a combination of all of these scenarios. Maybe you can recognize what the thorns look like, but maybe you just feel more worn down and can’t really see what is choking out the nutrition of God’s word. Either way—take some time to figure it out. I think it’s fair to say we all want blessings. And I’d go so far as to say none of us would turn down the opportunity to receive one hundred times more than what God plants in our hearts.
So let me draw your attention to verse 15 again: But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. What’s the key to a fertile heart? Perseverance. Be noble and seek the good in everything. Be sure to read the Bible, hear the Word—seek it out! Retain it by seeing it often—write down scriptures on notecards and place them all around your house. Find a good devotional (if you can’t think of one, try the First5 app; it’s wonderful). Surrender all those thorns! Seek His word every day and ponder the words in your heart. Meditate on the message you feel God is giving you.
And then…persevere. Persevere: continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. It is then that His Word will produce a crop. And if you just continue to seek Him, you will reap one hundred times more than what he has sewn in your fertile heart.
May your hearts be fertile, my friends!