Jesus' parable of the soils always has a way of shaking me into reality. I would like to think of myself as good soil -- which Jesus says stands for "those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." Surely I wouldn't be like the seed that fell on the rock, or the seed that fell among thorns. Surely!
But when I read the way Jesus describes those soils, I do see myself. He says the seed that fell on the rock are "the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, . . . but in the time of testing they fall away." I don't guess I fall away when tested -- at least not in the way we usually think of falling away. But I don't think I always make him look good when I'm tested.
And how about the seed that fell among thorns? Jesus says that seed represents those who "are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures." Guilty as charged! I spend way too much time in the thorns of worrying about my work, my retirement, and the poor performance of the stock market.
God, I beg you to deliver me from the rocks and the thorns, and set me solidly in the good soil. Please work the soil of my heart until it can grow only one crop -- a crop whose fruit is Jesus.