What "Kind" Of Soil Are You?

In farming or gardening, the productivity of seed is directly proportionate to the fertility of the soil it’s sown in. Even if the seed is good, if it’s planted in infertile soil, it will either not germinate or will only produce a sickly and unproductive plant. And so it is with the word of God and human hearts.

In the “parable of the sower” (Luke 8:4-15; Matthew 13:1-9; Matthew 13:18-23), four kinds of soil are mentioned: (1) the wayside (Luke 8:5); (2) rocky places (Luke 8:6); (3) soil in which thorns are abundant (Luke 8:7), and (4) good soil (Luke 8:8). Each of these represents four different kinds of human hearts (cf. Luke 8:12; Luke 8:15; Matthew 13:15; Matthew 13:19), while the seed is called “the word of God” (Luke 8:11).

Please note that the deficiencies of the first three kinds of soil in this parable, do not cast reflection upon the innate power of the seed to produce life. The problem is in the soil – not in the seed. We should never speak of the word of God as being powerless to convert men, because the potential to produce new life and change men’s hearts is found in the word of God (see Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Peter 1:22-25).

Someone might ask, “Why doesn’t the “seed” (God’s word) always bring forth an abundant harvest? Simply because the “soil” (the mind, or heart of man), is not receptive to it or is encumbered with the “cares of this world” and the “pleasures of this life” (Matthew 13:22; Luke 8:14) . We can’t blame God for our lack of productivity, for the kind of soil we are has been our choice (note the word, “received” in the Matthew text (Matthew 13:20,22-23).

What are the requirements of fertile soil (hearts)? Jesus tells us, “they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15). This writer believes there are still human beings with good hearts that want to “hear” the word of God, and “keep it.” The question now becomes, what “kind” of soil are you?

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets


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