Keep Your Heart as Fertile Soil

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Picture of two kings of soil in a field

In today’s Bible reading* we came across Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds (Mark 4:3-9). It’s a familiar story for those of us who grew up going to church. We’ve heard it at least a million times, right?

According to the parable, as the sower scattered the seed, some of the seed fell along the path and was scooped up by birds. Some of the seed fell in rocky soil and when seeds began to grow, the plants withered because they didn’t have enough soil to take root. Some of the seed fell in thorns, which choked out the plants as they began to grow. Finally, some of the seeds fell into good soil where it produced a great harvest.

As I said three years ago, we need to guard our hearts. As God’s Word is sown into our lives, we must have receptive hearts, or the Word won’t be able to take root and grow to produce the Kingdom Life that God intends. Yes, God’s Word will accomplish everything that God intends for it; His Word is never ineffective. (Isaiah 55:11)

But if you want to make the most of what God has for you in His Word, you absolutely have to keep your heart prepared to receive the Word.

My dad grew up on a farm in Eastern North Carolina. A few days before it was time to plant seeds for the upcoming season, my Granddaddy, my dad, and my uncles would have to till up the hard soil so that when the seeds were sown, they would have fertile soil to grow in. Dad once told me that by the time the process was complete, the empty field would clean and smooth, looking like it had never been used before.

The process took several days and involved several passes of the farm equipment to chop up the leftover corn stalks (left in the field from last year’s corn harvest) and work them into the soil where those old, unused, “wasted” parts could decay and serve as fertilizer for this year’s crop. It was all organic. Truly, nothing was wasted in my Granddaddy’s field.


The same is true in your life: Nothing is wasted in the field of your life. Our Father is taking all of it — the old, decaying, wasted, leftover stuff that you think is what’s weighing you down — and using those things to prepare you for your present and future. Allow God to work. Allow Him to use the (ahem) dung in your life to be the fertile material for your future spiritual growth.

As you continue to read God’s Word with me this year, let God take all of your life — including the “wasted”, painful parts, the “stuff” that happens — with His Word to make a beautiful, bountiful field … for His glory.

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
Matthew 13:1-53
Mark 4:1-34
Luke 8:1-18

This devotional was originally published on January 4, 2021.

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