How do you respond?
Getting grass to grow around our new church building has been a work in progress, to say the least; but we have come a long way since last year this time when it looked like our building had landed on the surface of Mars. The hard, orange clay is not the best soil to work with, but with a lot of aerating, fertilizing and water, we are going to get there!
Jesus spent some time one day teaching about different kinds of soils and the challenges they create for growth. In the Parable of the Sower or Four Soils (Matthew 13:1-9), Jesus says there are four types of soil where seed may land as a farmer sows… hard, rocky, thorny and good. Only one out of 4 of these soils is “good” - rich and deep enough for the plant to take root, grow and produce fruit! The soils in Jesus’ parable represent people with whom the Gospel is shared. The seed is the “message of the kingdom” or the Gospel.
Later Jesus explains the meaning of this parable (13:18-23). The bottom line is that there can be four responses to the Gospel:
Hard-hearted Response - These are the folks hardened by sin; unwilling to accept their need for a Savior and the grace we have been offered in Jesus Christ.
Tentative Response - These are the “kinda, sorta, not-really” Followers who, at first respond in a positive way, but when challenges come their way because of the faith, they run the other way - they wither away.
Circumstantial Response - These are the folks who seem to take root, but get choked out by circumstances in their lives, like worry or the pursuit of wealth.
Hardy, Healthy Response - These are the folks who allow the seed (Gospel) to take root, grow and produce fruit for Christ’s sake!
Which soil are you? Jesus challenges us again and again to produce fruit! One of the biggest truths we have learned in this series is: The faithful will be fruitful! (Matthew 7:16). As we start a new ministry year, will you commit to grow and produce fruit? Find a place to serve, join a life group, share your faith, cast the seed! Who can you invest in this year to lead to Christ? Who will you disciple? Remember, for the seed to be sown, it must be cast! Take the opportunity to share your faith. (1 Peter 3:15) For far more, listen to The Parables Part 10 - When Faith is Not Fake.