Friday, May 11, 2007

4 Soils - Good Soil

The last soil is “good soil.” The seed penetrates the ground. It is received. Good soil means there are no rocks. The plants can sink their roots deep into the soil. It can draw on resources deep in the soil, untouched by the heat. ood soil means there are no thorns. So, there are no influences to draw the resources away from the plants. All resources can be concentrated in the growth of the plant. The end result is that the plants grow abundantly and thrive. They produce abundant fruit.

Does this mean that growing and producing fruit in living as a disciple of Jesus resolve down to a couple of basic things?

  1. Learning to draw life from Jesus. We might call “life” in this sense emotional, psychological and spiritual wholeness. It is restrictions in this life hinder people from taking risks and making changes that could propel them to greater living.
  2. Learning to focus on profitable areas that build a person’s heart. We cannot totally focus on spiritual things. Even monks need to maintain their bodies. People living “normally” have to focus on jobs, cooking and cleaning, paying bills. So, at least people need to minimize the effects of these legitimate distractions. Then, we need to eliminate or minimize other distractions. Some distractions could be lethally draining. All the addictions that people discuss nowadays. Other distractions could be acceptable (TV watching for example) by still suck up time and energy that could otherwise be spent more profitably.
This identifies the general what’s of growth and fruit producing. What about specific what’s? Can “playing hopscotch” enable us to tap into Jesus’ energy reserves? There are how questions too. Material for future posts?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

4 Soils : Thorny Ground

The third soil is "thorny ground." Thorns grow beside the plants and draw important resources away from them. So, the seed is received. It penetrates the soil. But it grows in a situation where it is competing for resource. And often, losing the competition.

Thorns are anything that siphon off time and energy. So, life is given to unprofitable areas.

We all know people who begin to follow Jesus, and then begin to focus on unprofitable areas. They are divided in heart. So, they don't really progress in either area. They may grow some. But they don't produce fruit as they would, if they were whole-hearted. And part of Jesus' purpose for us is fruit.

Monday, May 07, 2007

4 Soils - Rocky Ground

The second soil is “rocky ground.” The seed is received and penetrates the ground. The plant begins to grow.

But the soil has no depth. There is no room for it to put down roots. The plant does not gain a firm hold. When the sun rises, and parches the ground, it loses easily accessible reserves and withers.

Some people are lured by a life of blessing — provision, protection, guidance, power to overcome. They expect to glide along easy street. And when the inevitable trouble comes, they are not well-connected enough to Jesus’ resources to stand.

People like this have expectations of what life with Jesus is like. And this conception is no where near reality. In awhile, when their expectations are not being met, they fade away, and go back to their old way of living.

Friday, May 04, 2007

4 Soils - Beside the Road

Jesus told a story about planting seed in four different types of soil. The four soils represent four different types of hearts.

The first soil “beside the road” does not even receive the seed sown on it. The soil is hard. The seed is not able to penetrate. If you have spoken to anyone about Jesus, you met people like this. “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to hear about it.”

Jesus said we are witnesses. Meaning we should talk about what we see and know. We are supposed to give a defense. Meaning we should be able to give a reasonable explanation of why we believe what we believe. We are examples. Meaning we should demonstrate what life with Jesus is like. And each of these should be compelling. However, some people will simply refuse to be engaged. And it is not our job to make them curious about Jesus. We shouldn’t feel guilty about just walking away. The job of touching hearts and arousing interest is God’s.