When the Seed Falls
A few days ago, we became people who do their yard.
You know those people - the ones who work on their yard every weekend and all you can think is, oh, you poor soul…don’t you know you could be doing anything else?
Last summer we had a hail storm that caused serious indoor and outdoor damage to our home. We’re currently in the process of replacing the roof, skylight, window treatments, flooring, fencing, painting, sheetrock…
The list goes on and on.
I’m sure all of our (read: the contractor’s) hard work will pay off and the final product will be worth it, but renovation is a long process and it can be painful along the way.
It’s not lost on me that what is happening to my physical home complements what the Father has been doing in my heart, too.
Storms have hit us from every angle, but the Father is picking up the pieces. This is what He does. He is the God of restoration, healing, and reclamation. He’s restoring our marriage, our finances, our friendships, instilling new dreams in our hearts, new goals, refined hopes…
That list goes on and on, too.
With all of the updates happening at our house, Bry had the idea to update our front yard this spring.
We (or at least I) have done little to nothing over the years to update our landscaping. Bry has done a lot to maintain it, just like he does in other parts of the house. But as far as making it “ours” or a place we’d want to spend extended periods of time, that’d be a big NO.
So, that’s how we found ourselves spending a few days in the front yard, enjoying the first real taste of spring down here in Texas.
As I watched my hubby cultivate the soil, I couldn’t help but chew on Matthew 13 in my mind.
If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a chapter in the Bible where Jesus is teaching a huge crowd of people a series of stories. They’re called parables in the Bible, but that’s just a fancy way of saying it’s a simple story with an eternal meaning.
There were actually so many people drawn to Him (most likely thousands) that He had to teach from a boat, yelling so they could all hear. The people listened from the shore, completely captivated and amazed by His teachings. They were unlike anything they’d heard from anyone else. And at the end of each parable, Jesus begged the people listening to take action.
I will echo Him and share His words with you today, “If you understand this, you need to respond.”
More on that in a minute.
I used to think gardening was so calming and peaceful. I thought it was something grandmas did, so I (naïvely) assumed it’d be fairly easy work and was sure I could handle a little menial gardening. Scoff. Goodness, was I wrong! We were beyond sore and exhausted when we finished working an 8-hour day, but very proud of what we’d accomplished.
As I watched Bry violently till the soil, thrashing stunted roots with a pickax, the Holy Spirit said gently, “This was your heart.”
A vision came to mind of the soil surrounding my heart. I thought about the times in my life when the soil had grown hard, rocks and dead roots entangling it, making it nearly impossible for the Word of God to penetrate it.
Still, other times the soil of my heart has been healthy and freshly tilled, ready to take in the Word and allow it to change me from the inside out.
Healthy soil is teeming with life (the more bugs the better), it produces crops even when the weather (the storms of life) doesn’t cooperate, and it has a sufficient root system growing within it.
Healthy soil is equipped to sustain new growth, new trials, new winters. It always produces a crop, year after year. Some years the crop is abundant and multiplied, while other years it is just enough. But, healthy soil always produces a crop.
We found healthy and unhealthy soil as we worked our way through the yard. Bry had to work so much harder digging through the unhealthy soil, yet almost seamlessly through the healthy patches.
Our hearts are the same, friends!
The Word has so much to say on healthy soil, deep roots, and hard hearts. It has so much to say because hard hearts prevent us from allowing the Word of God to take root in our life and bring about real, lasting change.
Four types of soil: Matthew 13
In His first parable in this chapter, Jesus describes four types of soil that surround our hearts through the lens of a farmer who sowed seeds, casting them out around his farm.
The Beaten Path: As the seeds were sown, birds ate the seeds along the beaten path and nothing was absorbed into the ground.
These are people who hear the Word, but they don’t understand it. The enemy steals the tiny amount of understanding they may have had because there was no foundation and nothing to take root.
Gravel and Rocks: Since there’s no topsoil on top of gravel and rocks, the seeds quickly began sprouting leaves, but when the sun showed up, the tiny sprouts were scorched by the heat and the plants withered because there weren’t sufficient roots.
These are people who have a shallow relationship with the Lord. They live on the coattails of other people’s faith, so when real tragedy and troubles hit, they quickly fall away since the truth didn’t sink deeply into their hearts.
Weeds: Some of the seeds fell among the thorns and weeds. The seeds sprouted along with the thorns and the weeds crowded the healthy plants.
These are people who have a divided heart. They love the Lord and they gladly receive the Word, but they are still obsessed with the world and the wealth and pleasures it has to offer.
Healthy, Rich Soil: Other seeds fell on good, rich soil that kept producing a harvest, some 100x as much as he had planted!
These are people who have their heart, eyes, ears, and mind set on Jesus. They’re ready to embrace the message and their lives bear fruit in abundant measures because the soil is prepped for more. The soil around their hearts is prepared to endure new trials and new winters.
When the seed falls, what kind of soil will it find on your heart?
how do we develop healthy, rich soil?
We must be rooted in the Word daily to build a healthy foundation of thriving soil. It is our lifeline! We have to give it time to take root in our hearts and in our minds. As silly as it would be to eat one meal a week and expect to be physically healthy, we cannot read the word for five minutes a week and expect to be spiritually fed! (See: Romans 10:17)
We humble ourselves before the Father and ask Him to do the work through us. The word “humble” actually comes from the Latin word humus which means “earth” or “soil.” We literally have to choose to become dirt, laying ourselves bare before the Lord, humbly giving up our lives and our will to Him. When we humble ourselves, He has something He can work with. (See: Matthew 11:21)
The Holy Spirit will reveal the areas of our life that are entangled with weeds (sin). These weeds have to be pulled out and thrown away, just like we have to do in our backyard. We can’t expect to bear healthy fruit in a yard full of weeds. (See: John 16:13)
We’ve all heard it said that we reap what we sow. We wouldn’t plant wheat and expect grapes to grow. Similarly, we can’t plant bitterness, unforgiveness, and jealousy in our hearts and expect that the Father will turn it into joy, faith, or endurance. (See: John 4:36)
We believe that the power of God is strong enough to turn our little into His abundance. Only He can turn one tiny seed of faith planted in our hearts into an enormous, fruitful tree. If this seed is watered and nurtured, the possibilities are endless when the Father gets His hands on the seeds of our faith! (See: Mark 4:30-32)
The process of “tilling” the soil on our hearts is a lifelong process, friends. And it isn’t one that we do alone. The Holy Spirit wants to partner with you to bear fruit.
He IS the fruit!
When the seed (the Word of God) is planted firmly in our hearts, love is produced. Joy and peace overflow. Our words and actions will be full of faith. Selfishness, greed, and lust will be cast out. There will no longer be room for them in our hearts.
One of my favorite songs is “Seasons” by Hillsong Worship. The song is beautiful and it would make my day if you’d take a few minutes to listen to it. The last few lines of the song always bring me to tears, and it seems fitting to include them here.
Like a seed You were sown
For the sake of us all
From Bethlehem's soil
Grew Calvary's sequoia
If you’re still reading, I can’t let you go without echoing His call one last time.
“If you understand this story, you need to respond.”
We don’t get to ride on the back of anyone else’s faith. We have the free will to make our own decisions for ourselves. It’s the biggest decision we’ll ever make, too. What we do with this “seed” has eternal consequences.
How will you respond when you’re confronted with the Word of God? Will you ignore it? Abandon it? Disregard it? Or will you nurture it? Will you dig in and ask questions to those you trust?
The good news is that we can transplant healthy, fertile soil on our hearts today! The Word says that today is a great day to believe. “Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15 ESV)
So, let’s go after it.
Soft hearts. Fertile soil. Lots of bugs. Deep roots.
From the street, you can’t see all of the hard work my hubby put into the details of this plan. We decided to go with lavender, rosemary, and oregano.
So, basically it smells like a an Italian restaurant on one side, and lavender soap on the other. It’s fantastic!
We plan to take out the large bush in front of the window and put in a bench. This was all Bry’s idea and I love it. We can’t wait to sit outside and watch the sunset out here. We have a great view since we’re on the top of a hill and the sun sets behind a few houses.
I’m looking forward to beautiful, peaceful evenings out here…enjoying a glass of wine, reading the Word, and watching Bry do all the work. #didisaythatoutloud