The Progression of My Soil: My Relationship with Jesus’ Parable About Seed & Soil

Posted: January 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

Luke 8:4-15 — I grew up as a preacher’s kind. I lived in the shadow of the steeple always (sometimes literally, when the parsonage was next door to the church). I was there every time the church doors were open. Heck, my brother and I, when we were little, used to play our imaginary war games in the sanctuary. Sometimes it was a massive space station as a testament to our love of the old Star Trek re-runs. Through being there day and day out, through seeing church as it operates in many churches from the inside out, I became desensitized to it. It was the family business. Being a preacher’s kid defined who I was not what I was. Growing up in church does not guarantee salvation. It many cases, it often hinders it. Church is just there, always there. It was not something that created awe or caused inspiration. Sure, it was part of my personality to want to fit in with the world but church was never something for me to run to because it was my home. So, this passage is kind of the story of my life. It is the story of my changing soil.

The first people that Jesus talks about in this passage are the “footpath” people. Footpath people, like many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, are people who refuse to believe God’s message. These are the people in our day today who think that that God is dead. These are the people that think God was something we created to satisfy and control the masses. Paul said of these people that the Bible and the message of Jesus Christ is folly to them. These are the naturalists who think that there is no Creator. They think that man is his own god. They believe that all of this just happened. Their soil is so hardened that the good news of Jesus Christ could not penetrate it. These are the people that fashion belief systems that support my free will to do whatever I please as long as my free will does not impinge on your free will. These are the anything goes people. There has been a time in my life when I reacted violently (from an inner soul standpoint) against the established church. I rejected God. I thought of Jesus as a radical rabbi that went up against the establishment and was in a long line of martyrs who fought against oppression and lost. I thought Jesus was pretty cool in that regard. I thought, though, that all of this stuff about him being the Son of God was just a story that was a pill too hard to swallow. Miracles, really? Rational explanations certainly had to be there for those things. I guess I was what they called a deist (dee-ist). I thought there was some remote brutish god who created all this but who has left us to our own devices every since. I was hard soil. Since I could not see God, I did not believe in Him. I rejected the message. I was hard soil where the seed could not penetrate nor take root. This describes me in college.

I have been a “rocky soil” person too. Like many people in the crowds that followed Jesus, they were there because it was the popular thing to do. They hear and believe the message. They like the message. But they never do anything about it. This describes me for much of my life as a child, as a teenager, and some parts of my adult life. I always thought of Christianity as a great philosophy. It was a good way to live your life by following the teachings of Jesus. The Bible both Old Testament and New had some really good stuff in it about how to live your life. It was the goal and the ideal. It was something to strive for. However, it was never life changing. When times got hard, I had no roots in the Word, no life change caused by Jesus Christ as my Savior, so I would drift away. Living that kind of lifestyle was just too hard. It was easy to accept the temptations of the world. These are the people that the altar calls causes warm fuzzies in them for a while but when temptations and hard times come they fall back into to old patterns until the next time they have a special message in church that tugs their heart strings and the raise their hand and go down to the altar AGAIN. How many times did I get “saved” when I was a rocky soil person. I heard the message. I have been in church virtually 100% of my life but never took it to heart. I could not see the real need for a Savior. I could see the benefits of the life they were talking about but never really knew what salvation was all about. I thought I had to give up all the things that I liked in life to become a real Christian. Sometimes I would commit to that lifestyle and mistake it for salvation, and then fall away and have to get “saved” all over again. It is funny and scary to look back at my rocky soil days.

I have been a “thorn patch” person too. These are the people who have become so overcome with pursuit of materialism and other idols that they have no room for God in their lives. The pursuit of the American dream. The pursuit of things. The keeping up with the Joneses. The making of other things your god. We often put other things in life in place of God because they are tangible and immediate. I have lived that life. I have made material things the measure of my worth. I have made giving material things to others as the measure of my worth. I have made pursuit of intimacy with women the measure of my worth. I made these things my gods and left no room for God there. There was somebody or something that I put on the throne. If I had to choose between what a woman thought about me and what God thought about me, I chose what the woman thought about me. If I had to choose between what God’s Word said and what I wanted, I chose what I wanted. The thorns choked out the seed. These are the most shameful parts of my life looking back now. Letting other things come before God. Seeking God in others. Seeking God in things.

Finally comes the “good soil”. My soil finally became ready for the Jesus seed in December 2000. I really saw myself for who I was. I was a sinner through and through. What makes rich soil, it is soil that has decaying matter of animals and other plants. It is from the recognition of our decay, our sin, that our soil becomes seed ready. Soil that is ready is also soil that has been tilled so that oxygen can react with the soil beneath the surface. Those that are ready for the Jesus seed are those that have had encounters with the gospel through the “farmers” (those who witness). All of these things have to come together to make a person ready. I finally figured out that I was hopelessly a sinner who could not be good enough no matter how hard I tried. I finally figured out that my destination was a hell from which there was no escape eternally because I could not be good enough. There were no scales and if there were my bad was always going to outweigh my good. But in reality I came to understand that just one sin, one sin, was all it took to separate me from God eternally. I finally understood this whole Jesus/sin/sacrifice thing. I finally figured out why these churches were there. The ones that I had lived my whole life in without understanding. It was about Jesus, the Son of God. He really was the Son of God. He really did die on the cross not as a martyr for some lost cause or as a political statement. He died for me. He died on the cross so that I could be reconciled to God. It finally made sense. My soil was finally good soil where the seed could take root. I am not going to say that I have been perfect sin then. Far from it. But I do have a Savior who is perfecting me day by day through the action of the Holy Spirit. There are rocks in life that impede the expansion of our roots too, but Jesus is there to show us the way to grow our roots despite the rocks. The plant rises and gives off seed to be spread again. It all starts with good soil.

Thank God for having people in my life that worked my soil until it became ready for Jesus seed. Thank God. Thank God. Thank God.

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