Two bushes in my yard — one is deep green and full of big, gorgeous leaves, the other is yellowish green, with sparse leaves. Both are the same type of bush, both get the same amount of water and sun. What is the difference? the dirt!
That is what Jesus was teaching in the Parable of the Sower (or Farmer): “Pay attention to your dirt.” Only, the kind of dirt he was talking about is the “soil of our hearts.” In other words, whether or not God’s Word is able to change my life depends on the condition of my heart.
In this parable, Jesus identified four different heart conditions:
1) Unteachable. This heart condition is like packed down dirt — the kind that is in my driveway. It is just plain hard. This kind of heart says, “I’ve heard it all. I know it all. I like being in charge. I’ve got it all under control. I don’t need input from anyone else.” Satan loves this type of heart condition, because it is just like his.
2) Shallow. This heart condition is like dirt that is only a half inch thick on top of a rock. There is just not enough soil there for the roots to grow deep. And without deep roots nothing desirable will grow. This kind of heart says, “I want everything to turn out happy. After all, isn’t God the giver of good things? If something isn’t fun and easy, I’m out of here. I don’t like being corrected and I certainly don’t want anyone making fun of me for being good.”
3) Temptable. This heart condition is like a flower bed with lots of weeds and no gardener. The flowers begin growing strong, but the weeds grow faster, so the flowers are overrun and choked out. This kind of heart reasons, “Jesus is really great, but I need to be the one who decides what is right for me. I need to be all that I can be. If that means making choices that go against his teachings, then that is just who I am. After all, God loves me. I think he will understand.”
4) Changeable. This heart condition is like a well-cared-for-garden with nutrient-rich soil. This kind of heart says, “Change me from the inside out, Lord. I will do as you teach, no matter what. I will admit when I’m wrong to you and to others. I will watch what you are doing and make time to join you in your work — even if it means doing something that I am not naturally good at or I don’t feel like doing. I am willing to grow and change for you.”
“Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God. May I be like you.” *
Father, I open my heart to your Son, Jesus. I give him the right to work the soil in every part of my heart, so that it is ready to receive and obey your Word. Thank you so much. Amen.
The Parable of the Sower can be found in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15.
* © Eddie Espinosa, 1982.