Two and half weeks ago, Doug and I hosted our 3rd ONE Flesh Marriage Conference in Montreat, NC. 25 couples scheduled 3 days away from their jobs & their families & invested $300 to spend the weekend with us. They had the opportunity to engage in powerful worship, hear biblical teaching from 3 different couples & listen to 3 other couples share their life stories of God’s promises, their protests & their perseverance.
The week before we were to head back to the mountain, our pastor spoke about “Scattering Seeds.” I was serving back in the children’s room that Sunday, but my husband gave me the cliff notes version of the message. From that point on, “seeds” became a constant reminder of what we were to do; scatter…. A LOT of them.
I’ve never been a farmer. In fact, I’m one of those people that have a black thumb when it comes to growing- anything. I just don’t have the desire to plow the dirt, add fertilizer, plant the seeds, water, pull weeds, water some more, add more fertilizer, then WAIT for the seed to sprout…and then WAIT some more for it to produce!
For my husband’s birthday this year, my mother-in-law hired a landscape architect to draw up some plans for our yard. As the architect, my husband and mother-in-law stood chatting in the front yard about taking soil samples & all the preparation needed BEFORE we could even buy new plants and stick them in the ground, I checked out. I just didn’t understand why we had to invest all this time and money and annoyance to add some curb appeal to our yard. My husband explained (several times!) the importance of knowing what was lacking in our soil before we invest in flowers and shrubbery, only to have them die once they are planted. It finally made sense…but I still didn’t want to WAIT for all of that to happen before our yard could look like one of those on HGTV!
This morning, I chuckled as my daily reading plan sent me to Matthew 13. I guess there is more to this soil thing that God is trying to teach me! As I began reading the Parable of the Four Soils I wondered, if we were to take a soil sample of each of the couples that attended the conference last month, what would we find? Shallow soil, full of rocks? Soil that is infested with thorns or weeds? Or fertile soil? The discouraging facts are that not every seed that was scattered during those 3 days on the mountain will grow- much less produce a bountiful harvest. But that doesn’t mean that we should just stop scattering seeds. As my father so aptly put it “our job is to throw the seeds out, it’s the Holy Spirits job to water them.”
While preparing and gathering seeds to teach “The Yoke of Obedience” at the conference, Doug and I asked the Great Farmer to take several soil samples of our lives. We wanted to know which areas needed more fertilizer, rocks to be dug out and thorns that needed to be gotten rid of. Of course, once the samples were revealed to us, we had a choice; persevere and obey the Farmer, or protest and be content with the current state of our non-fertile soil. We chose to obey….and repent for the areas in which we allowed the enemy in to plant weeds in our garden.
Perhaps you’ve never asked the Farmer to take a soil sample of your life. Perhaps your land has lied dormant for many years. Perhaps you’ve become content living with rocks and thorns. Perhaps the weeds that the enemy has planted have become too deep, and you can’t pull them out. Regardless of the state of your soil, there is a gentle Farmer who wants to lovingly till and remove the rocks, thorns and weeds from your soil. Not only will He prepare the ground, but He will fertilize, water & provide the Son to produce a bountiful harvest through you. All you have to do is ask Him……
Father, would you take a soil sample of my life and show me the areas in which I have allowed the enemy to plant weeds. Holy Spirit, would you water the seeds that have been planted in fertile soil, so that my life may produce a bountiful harvest, which yields more seeds that can be scattered to other fields. Amen.
New Living Translation (NLT)
18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”