When we read the parable Jesus told about the four kinds of soil, there are many applications for us in our work as disciple makers! It's truly an important story for us to read, re-read and consider before the Lord.
This morning, I was telling the Lord how much I long to be good soil for Him, to be one of those who will bear much fruit for His kingdom. I re-read this parable and was struck by the clues it gives us as to what needs to be present in our lives as we pray a prayer for "much fruit."
The seed that fell on good soil are those who hear the word and commit themselves to it with a good and upright heart. Through their resolve, they bear fruit.- CEB
But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.- The Message
Four things stand out to me about those who are good soil.
- They hear God's Word
- They commit themselves
- They pay attention to their hearts (motives)
- They persevere until the fruit comes
They hear God's Word. Hearing should be the easy part, but there are times we find it difficult. In the midst of our busy schedules, the noise of life around us, pressures, work...are we really hearing His Word? Do we, as the Message translation says, "seize the Word and hold on no matter what"? How big a part of our lives are both the written and the Rama Word from God? Without His Word, we can't hear His heart, His direction, His encouragement, or follow Him well!
They commit themselves. This reminds me of the other parable about the Wise and Foolish builders. Wow... God really values action as well as knowledge! He wants us to not only hear, but commit ourselves and start doing what He said. How committed are we to what we know God has spoken to us about making disciples who make disciples? Seeing movements? Focusing on the Lost? Becoming a trainer of trainers?
They pay attention to their heart. Its amazing how easy it is to allow our hearts to be deceived! Jealousy, desire to be seen as pleasing in other's eyes, pride, taking credit for things God did, blaming God for our own failures, insecurity...it all can creep in so fast. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything else flows from it (Prov 4:23).
Lastly, and so importantly, they persevere and don't give up! I talked with someone last week who oversees a team that has struggled and struggled to see a breakthrough- to find the man or woman of peace, that person who will lead to seeing that first group of disciples started. It's been years of prayer and efforts and not much seems to have happened. Are they simply bad soil? I'm sure they must have asked themselves that from time to time! No way! They need to keep doing what this verse talks about- Hearing God, staying committed, watching their hearts, and persevering. Fruit will come if they don't give up.
I'm going to keep doing these vital things. I believe God chose me to bear much fruit and to be "good soil" that brings about 30,60 or 100 fold! How about you?