“And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Mark 4:20 (nlt)
So often, reading this parable or hearing it taught as I grew up in the church, the focus was on the harvest. This verse is rightfully linked with Jesus’ words in John 4:35, which says the fields are ripe for harvest.
In the church I grew up in, this harvest, ripe for the picking, has to do with winning converts to the faith. Since it came after Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman and the subsequent conversion of many in her town, that makes sense. But so often we think, What do I have to do to get busy harvesting? Yet Jesus is not saying the good seed represents a farmer who does the harvesting. It represents the soil. Good soil, in which seeds can grow.
And how does soil become good? As a gardener, I can tell you: the soil can’t become good on its own. In fact, the Gardener has to work with it. It has to be broken apart so that is softened. It has to have rocks and weeds pulled from it. Good soil has organic matter in it: nutrients produced by the decay of dead leaves or manure. Circumstances in my life that, at the time, felt like “manure” have often been used by God to help me to grow.
So if Jesus is telling us to be “good soil” so that our hearts can be fertile ground for His Word, perhaps we will have to submit to Him, allowing Him to break us, to pull the weeds of materialism and worry and perhaps even “fertilize” us with what feels like dying to self.
FAITH STEP: How is Jesus trying to work the soil of your heart? Are you resisting Him because it feels difficult? Ask Him to help you see the purpose of the struggles in your life.
Written by Keri Wyatt Kent