|In High School, Chem Lab was the best!|
Do you remember your science labs? They were awesome! I guess it's a toss-up between Biology and Chemistry as to which was best, depending on whether you prefer cutting things up or blowing things up. Did you like gross or grandiose? There was one experiment we did where we had three samples of substances, and on visual inspection you couldn't distinguish between them. They all looked the same. So they each got placed in their own test tube and we added a known liquid to the samples. Knowing the kinds of reactions one gets when adding this liquid helped to identify and distinguish the samples. If it turns blue, it's this. If nothing happens, it's that. And if it sparks and sizzles, we're glad we didn't skip lab. (Not that I ever ditched a class in High School; just sayin'.)
Jesus' comments about the use of parables, and the seminal parable of the Seed and Soils, reveal something quite similar to the Chem Lab experiment. One thing that can't be distinguished well by visual inspection is the condition of a person's heart. Of course, Jesus' use of the word 'heart' is not a reference to our physical blood pump. He is speaking of our soul; who we are at the core of our being. When Jesus uses the analogy of 'soil' to the heart, He is illustrating the importance of receptivity and purity in the soul. Where the introduction of the liquid was the element that defined our lab substances, the introduction of God's Word (the seed) is what proves the nature of our soul (the soil).
So, people hear the message of the kingdom of God and they are unimpressed, unmoved, careless, dismissive. The seed has proved their soil to be hard-packed and resistant. Pray for those souls of cement.
A person hears the good news of Jesus Christ and accepts it enthusiastically. But then the trials and persecution that are also realities of the Christian walk come, and as quickly as they turned to Jesus, they turn away. Pray for the young believer who has developed no roots, no depth.
A person hears that Jesus is their Savior and Lord and they embrace Him. But then they are discouraged by life's challenges and distracted by life's wealth. Their Christian walk becomes weak and unproductive. Pray for believers who have taken their eyes off of Christ, stumbling through the weeds of their worry and wants.
Finally, a person hears the great, good news of Christ and His Kingdom and they receive it firmly in their soul. Open, deep, pure, this heart persists in devotion and development, producing much fruit for God.
When God's Word is broadcast in your direction, who does it prove you to be?
Pray: Lord, break up and seed my fallow ground. Cast your Word in my direction and reveal the true nature of my heart. And should I be found hard-packed, tear me up! And should I be found shallow, plow me deeper! And should I be found overgrown with weeds, strip them all away! Help me be receptive, deep, pure, productive for Your name's sake.