“And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil.”
Matthew 13:3-5, ESV
Parables were one of the favorite ways that Jesus communicated the truth. This folksy and imaginative bit of “story-telling” carried profound things. In this peculiar parable they hear of a farmer “broadcasting” the spring seed. It says he went “out to sow.” He went out (and not in.) The fields were awaiting him and his precious seed.
There was seed that was incidentally sown on the hard path. The sparrows and the wrens and robins came and ate all the seed they could hold. And some other seed was sown into the gravel, and rocks. There was really, very little good soil.
Amazingly, they grew. The seed there managed to sprout, and show some real semblance of growth. But, it was temporary. It could not last, the conditions would not endure continual growth. The young plants would soon shrivel up and die.
Many things happen, that reveal our heart rocky and hard. Much traffic treading down the lanes of our heart, pack the soil of our hearts. The soil compresses and will not allow the young roots to find the nutrients it needs. Things are hard, the soil is packed down–like concrete.
So many things roll through our hearts. We discover that we have been trampled and stomped on. What may have been soft and fertile, has been packed down and hardened by all the traffic. We should-be been more aware. We turned to a “free-er” and more open acceptance of what we would take and tolerate. Evil, which has taken advantage, moves deep into our thinking, and we “sign over” much that we will regret, but later on.
The seed though is the focus. It is precious, and knowing this, we focus on its viability. The seed that makes it into a tiny plant is valued incredibly. We hover over it, trying to “will” it to grow. (If that were possible.) But it seems we can’t press through this point. The “precious seed” is sown, and our hardness nullifies so much real growth.
The Lord’s gentle but deep awareness is focused on our softness. How do we manage our hard hearts? When his spirit reaches out to us (the other day it was a wonderful song on the radio); He was reaching to me, and than I shut it down. I guess I know he’ll continue to reach for me, even if I’m so rude to him.
There is an old story, of a demonic horse rider who would ride through the country, and wherever the horse stepped there was a permanent deadness that would never let the seed to grow. When we indulge sin, we enable sin to flourish, and we empower the “horse rider” to continue his advance. Our lust, and greed, jealousy, pride and selfishness bring us a deep and shadowy darkness. He moves through my life, and I am mostly saddened because I no longer reach to him, even though I think that I grasp for him.
But how will we manage the traffic through the soil of our lives. Will we let it continue, or will we put up signs? Signs create a “safety zone” and we turn to this draconian measures to keep things in a good order. It seems harsh, but it gives us space to let what is soft to become eager to receive the seed.