“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop- a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
(Matthew 13: 8)
I love gardening, but now as we live in an apartment building, I have to be content to pursue my hobby on two balconies on which I have crammed as many pots as I can so bursts of beautiful colours not only bring me joy, but bring delight to passers by. I have reserved one corner for herbs, as cooking is another one of my fun tasks. This corner receives a lot of sun, so the herbs flourish and produce and abundant crop for me to use during the summer. Last summer I retrieved a pot I had stored away for the winter and when I looked inside the soil was as hard as a rock. I realised it needed a lot of work before the soil was ready to receive my intended herb planting.
We sang a beautiful song during our church service this week and one of the phrases really made me stop and think;
Help me to be open to receive the seed.
The phrase made me think of my pot with its soil so hard no seed would be able to flourish and suddenly the song’s lyrics had a special meaning for me. I thought perhaps my heart is like the soil in my pot, unwilling to be open to receive God’s word. Jesus tells us that God’s Word is like a seed and in the parable of the sower, he describes how the seed is received in different ways, and how it flourishes depends on the quality of the soil.
In the parable Jesus tells us some of the seed fell on rock.
“Some fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil…” (Matthew 13: 5)
Our hearts are really the receptive soil for God’s word, and it depends on the condition of those hearts as to how the word grows and flourishes. Fortunately for us who love the Lord, he knows that all sorts of circumstances can sometimes begin to harden our hearts and perhaps we don’t even notice at first, just like I didn’t notice my pot’s soil hardening over winter, but the Lord has provided a solution for hard hearts, we can call out to him and this will be the reply;
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36: 26)
Of course we have to recognise when we need the Heavenly Gardener to do a little preparation in our hearts to receive his word, and then the next step is to see that the word is firmly planted and has strong roots so it will resist any attempts to dislodge it. I love how the psalmist describes how he will do this;
“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119: 10 – 11)
So we can sing the song confidently…
Help me to be open to receive the seed (And he will!)