As I warned in my sermon, we have to think not as 20th and 21st century farmers, but farmers from 2,000 years ago. Today, can just about any soil be used after lots of work? Of course. But think of the work that would need to go into tearing up a six lane interstate in order to make it into good farming soil. Can it be done? Sure. Is it worth it? Probably not. Try doing it by hand and now it's impossible.
But as far as the parable goes, it's not meant to be a lesson on farming soil. It's a lesson on why some people believe in Jesus and produce everlasting fruit and why others don't. God is the one who gives life to a person's heart (So He's the Farmer). No matter how much work we try to do, we can't ever change the soil condition of our heart.
As I mentioned in my sermon, these folks do hear the gospel. So whether or not they're being given a chance isn't based on them not hearing. And as I said, we have an enemy who is out to destroy lives. Some he destroys by snatching the gospel away from them before they can respond to it (see Luke 8:12).
The apostle John tells us, in 1 John 5:13, that he wrote his short letter so that those who believe in Jesus can know that they have eternal life. So there is a way to know -- to have confidence in -- that you are the good soil for God's Word. How do we know if we're blind to our true condition? First, be in God's Word. Read it and allow it to examine your heart, your priorities, your passions, your thoughts, and your desires. Second, pray. "God open my eyes so I see where I'm allowing things other than You to have priority in my life. I don't want to be blind, Father, give me eyes to see my true condition." And, third, invite others into your life who you give permission to hold you to a "good soil standard." Give them permission to ask you about decision you're making, to probe your priorities, to even know how you spend your time and money.
Now about spreading the Word. Yes, you leave the rest up to God. We'll talk more about that this week as we look at another parable. Our job is to spread the seed; God gives the growth. He saves; we don't. We're to be faithful in our work and trust God to be faithful in His.
Finally, if you love someone then you will always do something if you think they're eternally in trouble. Most likely, you'll pray for them. You may invite them out to coffee to discuss spiritual things. You'll want to show them patient, long lasting, unconditional love so they see what God's Word in good soil looks like. As I said earlier, you can't save them. But there are many things you can do for those whom you are concerned about.
Stories, news, and resources for things happening at Gateway Church.