I remember as a young boy, watching my dad turn over the dirt in the flower beds. It looked so much nicer afterwards and seemed to me that if dirt had feelings, it would enjoy the process of being “refreshed.” Its consistency, color, and the ability to absorb water, are all enhanced. Even the flowers seemed to perk up, with the assurance of being rooted in good soil.
Most of us are familiar with the Parable of the Sower, also known as The Parable of the Soils. The type of soil we want to be in the garden of our souls is the “good soil.” 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.” Mk. 4:20
I would conjecture that good soil was not born as good soil. Most likely it existed as mere path dirt, a rocky mix, or a thorny mess, prior to its refining. No one’s garden is fully cultivated. We are in process right?
The Hope of Change
Another parable that Jesus told is The Barren Fig Tree, so called because it had not born fruit for three years. The vinedresser asks the owner for a one year reprieve for the tree – an opportunity to dig around it and add fertilizer. Another possible title for this parable might be: “The Hope of Change.”We too easily accept the verdict of barrenness in our personal and married lives, and are cutting down trees that have not finished growing and bearing fruit. Click To Tweet
Working the Ground
After the Creation, there was a season where vegetation had yet to spring up, for at least two reasons: God had yet to bring rain and there was no man to work the ground. Gen. 2:5-9 God formed a man from the dust and assigned him the task of tilling the very ground from which he came. Working the ground, unto good soil – still our task today.
If there were ever a barren tree that deserved to be cut down, it was the city of Sodom, but like the vinedresser in Luke’s parable, Abraham the intercesor was humbly digging around the tree. His Spirit-led intercession made provision for the fruit of ten souls to be rescued. Gen. 18:32 When all the dust settled, only three people survived.
Every disciple is called to work the ground of their hearts, partnering with the Vinedresser and Intercessor who will never give up on us. We primarily do this by setting our hearts to hear the word (seed) and then be intentional to put it into practice. This is to be the rhythm of our lives: a lifetime of hearing our Beloved’s voice. One author called it a long obedience.
Hearing & Bearing Fruit
In Luke’s gospel the exhortation to be good soil is followed by the account of Jesus defining who his true family was. He was so surrounded by the crowd that his mother and brothers were not able to reach him. His response: My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice. Lk. 8:21
When Jesus appeared to the Apostle John on Patmos it becomes apparent that his expectation of the body of Christ was still the same. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
God delights in the good soil of our hearts for he knows the beautiful harvest that the seed of his word will produce. Spiritual formation, being changed into the image of Jesus, from glory to glory. 2 Cor. 3:18Imagine the breadth and scope of the garden that God has planted over the centuries. The beauty of God's creation is stunning and we are privileged to be at the apex of His created order - made in His very image. Click To Tweet
Imagine the breadth and scope of the garden that God has planted over the centuries. The beauty of God’s creation is stunning and we are privileged to be at the apex of His created order – made in His very image. In Adam, we have our struggles. In Christ, we are being transformed. So it is written [in Scripture], “The first man, Adam, became a living soul (an individual);” the last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving spirit [restoring the dead to life]. 1 Cor. 15:45 AMP