I wish some grass would grow in my backyard. I dream of lush, green, golf course grass… but all I’ve got is Florida sand. Sand, sand, sand. This is what my yard looks like. I was thinking it would be cool to do time-lapse photography to show how the grass filled in. At this rate I’m gonna be dead before I can time-lapse grass growing. There’s only sand. And weeds. The weeds are growing like crazy. What’s up with that?!
What does it take to make the grass grow?!
Twice in the last two weeks we’ve studied the Parable of the Sower at church. Usually if something is repeated, it’s important so I’m trying to pay attention! You know, the parable really isn’t about the sower at all – note to Bible editors – it should be titled the Parable of the Soils.
I presume you are familiar with the story in Mark 4 (or Matthew 13) – the seed is the Word of God and it falls on 4 different soils which represent four different heart conditions:
The hard path – where the seed is snatched away,
The rocky soil – where the seed sprouts but has no root and withers in the harsh environment,
The thorny soil – where the weeds and cares of the world grow up and choke out the seed, and
The good soil – where the seed produces a hearty crop.
So as I eat my breakfast cereal and stare at my sand trap every morning I am thinking about how to get FERTILE soil, in my yard and in my heart. Best I can tell, this is what needs to be done:
- Get rid of the weeds – The worries of the world, the deceitfulness of wealth, and OTHER things that distract me from a single-minded focus of a life lived for God, they all have to go. Pull the weeds out! They will always grow faster than the good grass and they will steal all the energy and nutrients and eventually take over the whole yard, choking out all that is good.
- Get rid of the rocks – Whenever there’s a rock, the grass doesn’t grow. Gravel, cement chunks, or boulders – the bigger the rock, the bigger the bare spot in your yard and in your heart. You cannot put down roots to sustain you in times of drought if you’ve got boulders in your yard. Get rid of the rocks! And sometimes you need the help of a friend (and maybe even their truck) to haul out some of the rocks in your life. Do it. You cannot grow grass where there are rocks.
- Break up the hard soil – If you just have a few hard spots then a patient gardener can break them up by hand. But if the whole place is baked hard, that gardener is going to need to run a plow through there. I personally prefer to NOT have God run a plow through my life, so I am trying to keep my heart soft and to allow Him to break up the hard spots before they turn into something else.
- Beat the birds – In the parable the birds that snatch away the Word represent Satan. Are there flocks of crows in your life? Or even just one persistent crow? Do you need a plan to keep the birds out of your life?
- Lots of water and fertilizer – Scripture is called the Living Water. Drink of it daily. Do not impose a drought upon your soul.
- Ask other expert gardeners for help – Find a place where the seed has yielded a hundredfold and ask some questions of the gardener, learn from her. People with beautiful gardens love to show them off and share their gardening secrets with you. Trial and error on your own is slow and painful, go get some good advice!
Weeds? Rocks? Hard spots? Crows? Water and fertilizer? Help from other experts? How is your soil doing?
Have you ever heard of “hardpan”? Hardpan is a general term for a dense layer of soil, usually found about 10 inches below the uppermost soil layer. With hardpan you can have a crop, but it will never be a great crop because 10 inches underneath the soil is hard as a rock. One of the best ways to get rid of hardpan is to use a tool called a “ripper”. That just doesn’t sound good. …. So maybe your life is ALREADY producing a crop – yea! But beware of the hardpan deep in your soul – we don’t want to have to call in the ripper.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9
Also, check out this neat animation of the Parable of the Sower (SOILS!):