Sometimes when I read the Bible, I am bothered by what I read. Sometimes, I wish God would make His pronouncements clearer. Or maybe make me a little smarter! Sometimes it takes some time thinking and praying about a Bible passage before God begins to help me understand some of its meaning. When I am willing to take some time to think and pray about the questions I have, often God leads me to understand more.
For example, Jesus tells this well-know parable about a farmer sowing seed for a crop. You can read it for yourself in Matthew 13:1-23. In this story Jesus talks about this farmer putting out seed to start his garden. The seed falls into different kinds of soil. In three cases, the seed falls into soil that will not grow a good plant. But some seed falls into good soil and produces a lot of good fruit.
Jesus tells his disciples that this is a story about God’s kingdom. The seed represents God’s word and the different soils represent how people receive that word in different ways. Some are “good soil” where God’s word produces good fruit and some are not.
But what bothers me is this: I want Jesus to tell me how to make people into good soil. I want to know what I can do to turn bad soil into good soil, to make people who are not receptive to the gospel into people who receive and produce fruit.
And then it hits me. That’s not my job. I can’t make good soil. My job is to throw out the seed. But only God can prepare the ground. If a human heart is going to be receptive to hearing the gospel and bearing fruit, it will be because God prepared them.
So there is something we can do to prepare the soil. We can pray. Pray that God will till up the hardened hearts of men and women so that when we proclaim the good news of God’s love they will be ready to accept it.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC