Monday, May 16, 2016

The Parable of the Sower: Hearts Like Dirt

I recently spoke with a young man from Chicago, who was living in Chattanooga, TN. He told me that prior to living in Chattanooga, he was allergic to dirt. Now, he spends most of life outside climbing, mountain biking, and camping; and is happier than ever.

The spiritual life is a bit like dirt. Counterintuitively, the dirtier we get, the healthier we may actually be.

The Parable of the Sower compares the heart to different kinds of soil, and the in this parable, the dirtier the dirt, the better the receptiveness the heart has to the Word of God. The soils are described as "by the wayside" (the hard-packed section along the road), "stony", "thorny", and "good soil". Good soil is well tilled, soft, and rich. After a day in the garden one comes back with deep rich soil under the fingernails and all over the clothing. The other soil types typically represent elements that separate the seed from the actual dirt.

This represents how we try to protect ourselves from a variety of elements related to the Word of God itself. The Way-side heart is unconcerned and ambivalent to either the voice of God or the concerns of humanity. Stony, hard hearts have become reactionary and hardened to the struggles and hard truths of life. The Thorny hearts are those whose greeds and personal desires have inoculated them against caring for the deeper values of life. In some bizarre inversion, we who are made from the dirt of the ground, or as others have recently described it, "star stuff", try to avoid contact with soil. We similarly attempt to protect ourselves from other people, hard truths, or the suffering in our world. In doing so, we separate ourselves from a healthy spiritual life. Just like an overly clean child may be a setup for a weak immune system, an overly defensive heart may be a set up for spiritual sickness.

Have a soft heart, be willing to get dirty in this life, and allow for the fact that you just may be wrong about life and are in need of correction from God's Word. These simple principles are evidences of a person ready to receive the Word, and grow in fruitfulness.

“Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

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