The type of soil we use for our gardens and crops can really make a difference. The right soils can produce a beautiful garden, good crops and abundant fruit. Other soils, not so much. We used to live in Nevada. It was hard to get things to grow there (except sagebrush and tumbleweeds and nasty things called “goatheads which have spikes that will go through a bicycle tire and don’t feel good on the feet). Other places we have been have lush green plants because they have that dark organic soil full of nutrients. How we hear and understand (and accept or not) God’s word is kind of like that, as Jesus explains in this parable.
We discussed the parable of the sower and the soils from Mark in a previous post (see Which Soil are You?). I almost skipped this one because I talked about it previously, but every time I read the Bible, I always get something different out of it. Hopefully that will be true for you as we discuss this parable again. Today we will go through this parable from Matthew.
Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus often talked about the narrow way or the narrow gate. First, He talks about this because there is only one way to salvation and that is through Jesus. Also, many will hear the word but few will choose the narrow path. They don’t accept Jesus because of the desires and cares of the world, or they think they are good enough and try on their own, or don’t understand and their acceptance has no substance. There is no true faith.
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”
The scriptures always talk about all the good things God gives us. What a great God we have! The key here is what do we do with what God has given us? To we accept that gift? Do we share His blessings with others? Do we give Him praise for what He has done? Do we put into practice the things that we learn from His word?
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
What will you do with what God has given you? He offers you grace…the undeserved gift of salvation. Have you accepted it? Or were you like the third servant who decided to bury it? (Remember, it’s not too late to accept that gift!) The first two servants not only accepted the gift of grace, but shared their gift. When given something so wonderful as the good news of salvation, shouldn’t we share that news with everyone around us? God also gives us many gifts to help others in need. Are we using those gifts to help others and further His kingdom? I wish I could say I do that all the time. I fall way short. I hope that the Holy Spirit will guide me and use me to be better at that.
So, which soil are you? How fruitful will you be? What are your talents and how will you use them? May God bless you always and may others see the love of Christ in each of us.