Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

11/20/2019

Jeff Grisham

 

Wanted: Good Soil

 

  In Mark 4:3-9, Jesus taught the crowd using the parable of the sower. After this his disciples asked him about the meaning and Jesus explained the parable to them.

 

  The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.  And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.  And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:14-20 ESV)

 

  There are several things that this parable can teach us. For those of us who have been Christians for a long time this is well-traveled ground. We have probably heard multiple lessons on the various types of soil Jesus mentioned, and the responsibility we have as followers of Jesus to sow the seed. I hope that as we read this again we take an honest look at ourselves and determine which of these soil types best describe us. I don’t think that there is anyone who reads this that does not want to be counted as the good soil. I also believe that God would like for all people to be good soil. So, if people want to be good soil and God wants us to be good soil, why aren’t we all good soil?

 

  What does it take to be good soil? Jesus gives the answer in Mark 4:23-24. “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.” (Mark 4:23-24 ESV)

 

  The first thing we see is that we must be willing to listen to what Jesus has to say. Being willing to listen is a demonstration of humility. It puts us in the position of learners. When we think we know best, that there is nothing we can learn, we resist listening. This happens in our personal relationships, doesn’t it? We resist listening to others because we believe we know better and we want to do things our own way. The first step to becoming the good soil is to humble ourselves and listen to Jesus.

 

  The second thing is that we not only listen to Jesus, but also put into practice the things He says. We pay attention to Him and follow as He directs. The disciples didn’t understand the parable at first, but they moved closer to Jesus to learn the meaning. There seems to be many things that the disciples didn’t immediately understand, but the more they listened and followed Jesus the better soil they became.

 

  When we stop and think about it, learning from Jesus and continually following Him seem to be the correctives needed to move from the bad soil to the good. Humbling ourselves and recognizing our need and His love has a tendency to soften our hearts. The more time we spend with Jesus the deeper our faith in him grows. The more we pay attention to Jesus, the more we see what is truly important in our lives and enables us to prioritize our lives as he wants. God wants good soil. We want to be good soil. Are we willing to listen and follow? Are we willing to let him work on us so that we may become good soil and bear fruit for the Kingdom?

 

—JEFF GRISHAM