Four Soils

It’s been c-c-cold in January. But spring is in the air! And in about six more weeks, it will be time for spring planting.
For our family, gardening is just a fun hobby to enjoy some fresh air, get our hands dirty, and feast on a few home-grown vegetables. But for most people in Jesus’ day, farming was a way of life. It’s no wonder, then, that so many of Jesus’ stories involved agriculture.
One of the most famous parables in the Bible is about a farmer who went out to his field to plant. Jesus mentions four kinds of soil (which describe four kinds of people). Notice how each soil reacts differently to the seed (which represents the Word of God).
The first soil was packed hard from years of foot traffic. Not your ideal place to grow crops. “Some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them” (Matthew 13:4). Jesus says this soil pictures people who hear God’s word, but can’t understand it (verse 19). They yawn. They laugh. They scratch their heads. Then Satan distracts them with other things that seem far more important.
The second soil was rocky, like much of our desert. “Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose, they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away” (vv. 5-6). These people receive God’s word joyfully at first. Perhaps they even get baptized and start attending church. But like a passing fad or well-intentioned New Year’s Resolution, they give up as soon as things get tough and people begin to mock (v. 21).
The third soil was full of weeds and thistles. “Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them” (v. 7). These people show early potential, but are slowly choked out by the worries of life and the empty promises of money (v. 22). Those who chase after money, toys, and pleasure end up selling their souls for something that can never satisfy. But thankfully, there is one more kind of soil… 
The fourth soil was “good soil and produced grain – some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (v. 8). Jesus urges all of us to become this kind of soil – where God’s Word is heard, understood, and planted deeply into our hearts. Such people will humble themselves, trust in God’s Son, and begin a life of growing obedience to Jesus Christ.
Four soils. Four kinds of people. Which one are you?
This article first appeared in our 
local newspaper, the Hi Desert Star 
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Photo credit: adamr

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