Work the Soil
So often, we hear this text as describing different people as the different types of soil. This type of person is like the path, that type of person is rocky ground, and any seed planted will go to waste. This person, usually a person like us, is good soil. That is where we should plant.
What if this misses the point of this parable? What if Jesus isn’t telling us to judge what type of soil to avoid? What if Jesus isn’t telling us to share God’s Word far and wide, with the hopes that some of it will land on good soil? What if Jesus is telling us to pay attention to the soil!
I used to serve in a primarily agricultural community, but know nothing about horticulture. I can’t even keep a houseplant alive. I did learn that you must work the soil, when planting crops. You have to care for the soil. Rocky ground can be broken up. Thorns can be cleared. Any soil can give life to seeds, if it is cultivated enough.
If we interpret the seeds as the Word of God, this is a passage about evangelism. We are called to cultivate the soil, to enter into relationships with them. What is more effective, asking somebody, “if you died tonight, do you know where you would spend eternity?” or getting to know somebody and letting them see how Christ is working in your life. Not to “save” them or to get anything from them, but because they are a beloved child of God. When we treat evangelism that way, we may find the rocky ground a little less rocky.
Almighty God, help us to plant the seed of your Word that will further your kingdom on Earth. Help us cultivate the soil through authentic relationships built out of love and compassion for your other beloved children. Amen.
Rev. Chris Deacon is the pastor of the United Parish of Bowie, a joint UCC/PC(USA) congregation in Bowie, MD. He is also the author or “Louder than Words.”
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