"What Kind of Ground Am I?" Page 2 of 2
by John Lowe
Then we see in verse 13, the second kind of response, those on rock.
Verse 6 again: "Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture."
Jesus gives the meaning in verse 13: "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away."
How about you?
Are you rootless?
Those in this category get excited for a while when they hear the word.
But, when it gets tough, they aren’t...because they haven’t developed the capacity to hang in there by grabbing onto and holding onto at least what they know for now.
They make small-minded decisions.
Everything is for the short-term.
What pleases me and mine now.
Notice again how Jesus describes these folks: "6...the plants withered because they had no moisture."
Moisture brings softness.
There is an inbuilt hardness to their response.
They’ve developed a certain capacity to push truth away.
To push the tugging of God’s spirit away.
To drown out the voice of God to them.
Deaf ears and blind eyes are the result of callous hearts.
The next type of response is the seed that "7 fell among thorns. The thorns grew up with it and choked the plants."
The interpretation by Jesus is verse 14?
"The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature."
This description is fairly straightforward, isn’t it?
"Choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures."
So much about life has their attention.
So much of what isn’t really God-honoring.
Or, just too much of the things of the world to enjoy.
Or, the cares and worries of life so consume them that they are literally choked spiritually.
The real stuff God wants to produce is not produced in near the quantity that it can be produced.
It may even be pretty appalling.
Two crops are trying to grow in the same ground.
The bottom line?
The result is that they don’t mature.
They may think they are mature, but they don’t even have the spiritual capacity at this point to tell that they aren’t mature.
They are too suffocated by everything around them, either worry OR pleasure.
Those are Jesus’ words, not mine!
Then the last kind of soil…the good soil.
"8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
He doesn’t describe the characteristics of this soil, like he does the others.
He just says it was good soil and it produced the right amount.
We can tell something about it by two things: 1) by what these farmers naturally understood to be good soil.
And, 2) by the opposites of what he has just described.
Good soil is rich and moist.
It has the right nutrients in the
ground that nourish growth.
It is not hard.
It is free of obstructions and foreign elements, free of other life sucking plants that are really not good for much.
Those are weeds.
Who is this person?
That’s the devil.
Jesus says in verse 15, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
They have a noble and good heart.
And, this produces a bountiful harvest.
If a crop in Palestine yielded 10% it was considered good; 30 or 40 fold would be the farmer’s dream.
This ground produces 100 times.
I’d call that a bountiful harvest.
That points to the other part of the interpretation of this parable.
It is a parable of the advancement of God’s kingdom.
Jesus is telling us that despite the other responses, the kingdom will advance bountifully.
Jesus and the gospel writer stop abruptly after this and move on to something else.
The message is very clear, I believe.
We are to ask ourselves, “What kind of ground, soil, am I?”
Jesus describes YOU one way or the other here.
What can you do about it, specifically?
You know what?
I’m gonna leave that up to God and you.
With a message like this, I’m usually full of advice.
Not this time.
You stand before God...alone...as I do.
You’ve heard it all.
Prayer, study, faithful attendance, love, good works.
It’s time for the Holy Spirit to nail you.
Please let him do it.
I’m gonna close with a story and then, a song
This story came from a paper in a small town.
There are lots of cattle ranches around here, and every once in a while a cow wanders off and gets lost.... Ask a rancher how a cow gets lost, and chances are he will reply, “Well, the cow starts nibbling on a tuft of green grass, and when it finishes, it looks ahead to the next tuft of green grass and starts nibbling on that one, and then it nibbles on a tuft of green grass right next to a hole in the fence.
It then sees another tuft of green grass on the other side of the fence, so it nibbles on that one and then goes on to the next tuft.
The next thing you know the cow has nibbled itself into being lost.”
I know that Americans are in the process of nibbling their way to lostness.
We keep moving from one tuft of activity to another, never noticing how far we have gone from home or how far away from the truth we have managed to end up.
But, what I’m wondering about is YOU.
It will be easy for you to walk away from my message today and instantly find a way to skirt the truth about yourself.
It will be someone else or some other situation or the nation or your relative.
Look in the mirror with me.
And ask yourself, “What kind of soil am I?”