Last week at BSF, we were studying Matthew 13, and I found the parable of the sower and Jesus’ explanation of it to be especially thought-provoking (see Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23). I found personal application in thinking through the condition of the soil of my heart, but also application for parenting as I consider my role in cultivating the soil of my children’s hearts. In the parable, Jesus describes four types of soil: hard soil along the path that is snatched up by the birds, rocky soil where the plants spring up but have no depth to withstand heat, thorny soil where the seed is choked by thorns, and fertile soil where the seed produces grain in varying amounts.
My lecture notes provided by BSF provided a thorough explanation of each of these types of soil. Four types of “soil” are given the Word of God, but is only truly received by the good soil. For me personally, I am like the good soil only by the grace of God–He has redeemed me, bought me with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, and changed my heart so that I can receive His Word and produce fruit for Him. For a Christian, the application of this parable comes from verses 8 and 23–are we producing thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or a hundred-fold? Are we saved but lukewarm and complacent in our walk with Christ? Are we producing good works for Christ but still holding on to areas of disobedience? Or are we living in the Spirit, living in complete obedience and submission to Christ, yielding abundant fruit for His kingdom?
This was so convicting to me–I can’t just sit back and say, “hey, I’m saved, I’m good soil, so let’s move on to the next question.” Honestly, I would place myself in the sixty-fold category, and I’m only there because God has been teaching me so much through this study of Matthew and being in God’s Word regularly has taken away the complacency with which I usually struggle. But there are still areas of my life where I want to be in control. I’m not ready to give up everything in obedience to Christ, and that prevents me from being the most productive type of soil. I know what some of those areas of disobedience are, and I’m sure that there are others I’m not even aware of. I’m praying that God would give me the courage to become hundred-fold soil and point out areas of my life that I need to submit to His authority.
The other three types of soil–referring to those who do not yet know Christ as Lord and Savior–can be applied to my children. I believe that only God can change their hearts, making them like the fertile soil and able to receive His Word. But as a parent, God has called me to cultivate their hearts and prepare them to give their lives to Him. I think it is important for me to frequently evaluate my children’s hearts. Are they like the hard soil, where God’s Word is being snatched away by Satan or by their own hardness of heart? Are they like the rocky soil, making a confession of faith in Christ but without roots that can withstand difficult times? Are they thorny soil where God’s Word is being choked out by worries, distractions, and busyness?
I need to pray daily that my children would not be hard soil and that God would soften their hearts to His truth. I need to be wary of professions of faith in Christ that do not count the cost of discipleship and lack a depth of understanding that would withstand hardship. And I need to do what I can to protect them from the distractions of the world that would choke out the seeds of God’s truth that Noel and I are sowing in our home.
And, as always, I need to evaluate the example I’m setting for my kids. Do I demonstrate a desire to hear more of God’s Word and know Christ more intimately? Do I exhibit a faith that trusts that God is good, even when my consequences are difficult? Do I let worldly treasures and pleasures cause confusion and distraction for our family? Or are my priorities and decisions dictated by a single purpose: to obey God and produce fruit for His kingdom? I am so thankful that by God’s grace, He has changed my hard, shallow, distracted heart and made me fertile soil. I want to produce a hundred-fold crop out of gratitude to God for loving me, redeeming me, and calling me His daughter. I pray for evidence of changed hearts in my children and can’t wait to see how God will use their lives for His glory.Share