Thursday, November 11, 2010

How is Your Soil?

Matthew 13:23 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."

23 ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν καλὴν γῆν σπαρείς, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων καὶ συνιείς, ὃς δὴ καρποφορεῖ καὶ ποιεῖ ὃ μὲν ἑκατόν, ὃ δὲ ἑξήκοντα, ὃ δὲ τριάκοντα.

I would maintain that this is one of Jesus' more misunderstood parables in the evangelical church.  It is very well-known, but I'm not sure that we get it because we read this through American eyes.  To us, we see three soils that are Christians and one that is not.  But I don't think that is what Jesus is getting at here.

You don't have to read very far in the gospels to see that Jesus sets the bar very, very high.  The expectation is that we will bear fruit.  In fact, He tells us that a tree that does not bear fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.  I think the same goes for the parable of the soils.  There are those who will just reject the gospel as seen in the first soil. There are those who will immediately receive the gospel with joy, but will reject it when trials come. And there are those who seem to receive the gospel, but they don't bother to remove the weeds in their lives and they cannot grow.

It is difficult for me to reconcile how the shallow soil and the thorny soil could indicate someone who is saved.  The Christian life is one that bears fruit.  We may not always bear a ton of fruit, but we should be bearing fruit.  Weeds may come in, but as we notice them we pull them.  We may sometime need deeper soil and fertilizer, so we spend more time in the Word, in prayer, in fellowship, etc.  We all go through some ups and downs, but the Christian life should be a fruit-bearing one.

How is yours?  Do you need to pull some weeds in the garden?  Do you need to put a few yards of topsoil down?  Or are you bearing fruit?

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