We’ve been talking about where are roots lie this week. Sunday’s verse from Jeremiah 17 says,
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
This verse is still blowing my mind! As I stare at it I start to think about the conditions surrounding this amazing tree. I think about my attempt at a container garden this spring that has become an epic fail. And by fail I mean we currently have a bunch of tubs in the back yard full of nice organic compost and dirt . . . zero actual plants.
As we dig deeper into God’s Word looking for more on how we can be like this tree, how we can trust the Lord this much, I come across this wonderful passage in Matthew 13:
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”……….. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
I have probably heard a dozen sermons on this passage in my life. It is a pretty commonly used piece of scripture. But I want to break it down a little more and maybe we can see something in a new light today. Do you know who the sower of the seeds is in this scripture? That’s right, its Jesus. He is the one plants the seeds in our life. And He is trying to teach us something about the condition of our hearts. The condition of our heart directly related to how we will receive His Word, the seed. In order for us to be like that tree that weathers the storms and survives the droughts of life, we must start with a seed and that seed has to be planted in the right conditions in order to flourish.
If Jesus is the sower of the seeds, the our hearts are the soil in which those seeds are planted. We must be honest enough with ourselves to recognize what type of soil we are. Matthew tells us of four types of soil in which seeds can fall. I think it is so important that we are transparent enough with ourselves to take a deep look at which of these four soils we are deep down. Sometimes my heart screams one type, then other days I see my heart as a mix of several types. It’s a hard truth to look for because sometimes we realize we may not be what we think we are.
Today we are going to talk about the first type of soil the seeds fall on. In verse four we see that some seeds fell along the pathway. Think about what a pathway is, especially in those days where people walked everywhere. A well-traveled pathway is a beaten down path, the soil is so packed down from being stepped on and word that nothing can penetrate it. Nothing grows. The soil here is so broken and hardened that nothing can pierce it enough to grow.
Some of us have been worn down like this pathway. We have been so broken from the events of our life that we are exactly like this hardened path. Our exteriors are so firm that whatever is spoken to us just lays right along the surface. We wouldn’t dare let anything in for fear of the pain that might follow. While we think this toughness is protecting us, the truth is it makes us easy prey for satan to sweep down and beat us down a little more. Just like those birds come and grab the seeds off the path, we are wide open to the enemy’s attacks. So the hits just keep coming. We never feel appreciated or good enough. A woman with a beaten down soul hears, but rarely can receive God’s word.
Is your soul hardened today? What has happened in your life that has made you so beaten down? My heart aches for you today. Did you realize that by staying in this beaten down state it is nearly impossible to hear from God and receive His word in your life? Sure you can attend church and read God’s word, but it will never be able to penetrate the hardness of your shell and soak into the fibers of your life. God wants so much more for you. The tree in Jeremiah will never grow on this path. The conditions must change. And it all starts with the heart. Do you trust God enough to open your heart to Him in every way. It will be scary. But He will never disappoint you. He is near to the broken-hearted.
If this is you today, will you share with us so we can be praying for you? If you have been here before in life and have grown into a different soil, would you share with us how you did it so that it can be an encouragement to others?
Stay tuned for the next post to continue this discussion!
This post is part of the Jesus & Coffee Linkup. The theme for the month of June is growth but you are welcome to post any faith based posts. Click the blue frog for more info.