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The Heart God Desires

It’s sowing season! If you’re planning a garden for this summer, then no doubt you’re getting your soil ready for seeding or planting right now. In fact, you probably already have those seeds and plants in the ground, looking forward to seeing some buds soon. Growing season is here and fresh summer vegetables are right around the corner!

In His parable of the sower, Jesus taught about how important the condition of the soil is in order for seed to sprout, grow and produce fruit. In this powerful parable, captured in all three synoptic gospels, including Matthew 13, Jesus taught about four types of soils and their receptivity to seed.

This parable, like so many of Jesus’ parables, gives us a chance to see ourselves.  In Jesus’ story, as the sower spreads the seed, it comes to rest on four types of soils. Some of the seed fell on a hard, beaten down path that wouldn’t absorb the seed. The seed just sat on the hard ground where it could be easy pickings for birds. There was no chance the seed would ever really take.  

Some of the seed fell on rocky soil. There was be enough soil on top of the rocks for the seed to sprout, but only temporarily. There just wasn’t enough soil for the seed to really develop any significant root system, so when the sun continued to bear down on it, the young sprout dried up, unable to get the nutrients it needed from that shallow soil.

Some of the seed fell on thorny, weedy soil. That seed sprouted and started growing, but soon it got overwhelmed, overrun by the weeds surrounding it. As a result, it was choked out and died out.  

Then there was the seed that fell on the good soil. That seed sprouted. And not only did it sprout, but it grew and produced abundant fruit, multiplying 30, 60, 100 fold!  

So what is Jesus describing with each of these types of soils? Jesus was describing four different, unique responses to the gospel, the Word of God; but at a much deeper level, He was describing four types of hearts.

The question to consider here is which heart represents yours? 

1) The Hard Soil - The Rejecting Heart (Matthew 13:19)

The sad truth is that some hearts are rock hard, seemingly impenetrable, like a cement walkway. The picture here is clear, when the seed is scattered on this hard surface, it doesn’t take, it’s not absorbed, it just sits until it’s stolen away by the evil one, Satan.  Jesus used this clear picture of a rock hard, rejecting heart to indict those who simply are unwilling to hear or accept the gospel truth.  

2) The Shallow Soil - The Superficial Heart (Matthew 13:20-21)

Some people make an emotional, superficial commitment to Christ; it’s not real. They’re really interested initially; some are even on fire for Christ’s sake… until they’re not. When sacrifice is required, or when following Jesus becomes inconvenient, or when the journey gets difficult, they bail, throw in the towel, and just walk away.  (1 John 2:19; Mark 13:13; James 1:2-4)

3) The Weedy Soil - The Unfaithful Heart (Matthew 13:22)

There is such potential in all who initially profess their faith in Christ, but the proof of our commitment is always found in what we produce in our lives. There is one evident result of a true Believer… fruitfulness. Once, during His ministry, Jesus cursed a fig tree for one reason, why? It had no fruit on it. In John 15:5ff, Jesus taught about the importance of being connected to the vine, to Him, so that we can produce fruit in our lives. Apart from Him, Jesus taught, we can produce nothing! True, authentic faith is always accompanied by good works, fruitfulness!  

4) The Good Soil - The Obedient Heart (Matthew 13:23)

What is the effect of this seed in the good soil? What kind of crop does it yield? The good soil yields an abundant crop!  When the Word of God, the gospel, is heard, believed an obeyed, it yields an abundant harvest of godliness and righteousness! This soil is good because it fulfills the purpose for which it was created. You and I were created for one purpose… to know, to love and to obey Jesus. 

Which soil are you? Which heart is yours? For much more, click here to listen to: The Parables - Part 1 - The Heart God Desires


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