The seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted! – Mark 4:20
3 Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed.
4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it.
5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.
6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died.
7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain.
8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Rice farming requires a great deal of weed control and proper fertilization. Weeds and overgrowth make it very difficult and time-consuming when performed by people alone. The Japanese overcame this challenge using an agricultural technique they developed known as aigamo. The solution was simple, “working ducks.” Commercial Japanese rice farms “employ” ducks. Ducks wade through rice paddies, nibble at undergrowth and weeds, and provide natural fertilization. The Japanese art of aigamo provides a reliable, ecologically-sound rice agriculture.
Erik Andrus, a rice farmer, and owner of Boundbrook Farm, Vermont, sought answers. He found them in The Power of Duck by Takao Furuno. Andrus uses a breed of ducks called mulards for rice farming. They are active foragers. He started with 600 ducklings, mostly females because they are smaller and more nimble than the males. The ducks stay in the fields for roughly six weeks before the grain develops on the rice plant. They provide superb weed control. They won’t eat the rice plant because of its high silica content. And the rest is history (Jillian Dara).
Over the millennia, people have discovered how to improve and enrich growing environments for many kinds of crops. How can we enhance the soil of our hearts to facilitate spiritual growth? Are there weeds and thorns mixed in?
The Word of God provides spiritual seeds planted in human hearts. Human hearts are likened to various kinds of soil. Some hearts are inhospitable to the word of God. Othersare indifferent, opportunistic, or very interested.
How can we improve the soil of our hearts?
REFLECT & PRAY
“The Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground, and we must be on our guard At all times” (Wiersbe).
Father create in me a soft, pliable, receptive heart. Enable me to amend the soil of my heart so that it may be receptive and fertile for the seed of the Word of God.
To make our hearts more conducive and responsive to the word of God, it is incumbent upon us to amend the soil of our hearts. When we do so, our hearts become good soil, consistently attentive and accepting of the word of God. As we amend our heart soil, we grant the Father access as the master gardener to take over.
The Father will go after the roots of the weeds and thorns we have allowed in our lives. They took a lifetime to accumulate. It may take months or years to repair the depletion of our soil due to the complications of life and the poor, foolish, rebellious, or ignorant choices we have made.
How do we begin to allow the Father access? Get rid of the obvious first.
1 Peter 2:1 So get rid of all evil behavior [malice]. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all unkind speech [slander].
A few definitions and explanations are helpful here.
Malice – harboring evil thoughts against another person.
Deceit – guile (dolos) bait, cunning.
Hypocrisy – insincerity, pretense, sham. The hypocrite is a play-actor, pretending to be someone he is not.
Envy – Jealousy simply seeks what others have. Envy goes beyond that. Seeks to deprive others of what they have. Envy is the feeling of displeasure produced by observing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others (Vine).
Slander – make oneself look better by detracting from someone else.
A Few Definitions (Stanley)
Anger is a strong feeling of intense displeasure, hostility, or indignation resulting from a real or imagined threat, insult, frustration, or injustice toward yourself or others important to you.
Forgiveness is giving up resentment (anger) against someone and your right to get even, no matter what has been done to you.
Unforgiveness is the deliberate, willful refusal to give up one’s resentment and right to get even based on the attitude that someone must pay for the wrong done.
We are to study, reflect upon, and memorize the Word of God and allow the soil of our hearts to regenerate through the Word He alone can perform.
Warning – delving into the Word of God and plumbing its steps can be painful.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
The Father has already implanted the seeds in your heart; allow Him to bring forth the harvest. As a result of the renewal of your minds and hearts, new thinking and life will emerge and blossom.
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The Greek word translated asdo not copy or do not be conformed is syschematizo. Syschematizo means to conform to syschematizo, be fashioned, or be pressed into a mold. The sense is to stop allowing yourself to be fashioned after the pattern of this evil age (Hendriksen). Don’t act like a chameleon that takes its color from its surroundings (Barclay).
The Greek word translated as world or age is aion. Aion is the subtle informing spirit of the kosmos or world characterized by living alienated and apart from God (Bengel). Aion includes the thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, and aspirations of the world . . . being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale (Trench).
The Greek word translated as be transformed is metamorphoomai. Metamorphoomai is a present imperative passive verb. It connotes allowing the Father to change us continually from the inside out. When our thinking changes, our action changes.
Matthew 9:4 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?”
Right action should and will follow right, right thinking.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
24 in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
© Dr. H 2023