This Sunday marked the start of New Heart’s newest sermon series, Slipping Away. Pastor Ben focused on the Parable of the Seeds found in Matthew 13, and helped us to understand one very important thing:
God is the planter, and we are the soil.
Pastor Ben encouraged us by stressing that we can’t produce the change that we want to see in our lives…only God can. Because in most instances, when we are caught trying to produce fruit in our own lives, it comes out looking a lot more like weeds.
The only thing that we can control, then, is what kind of soil we are.
Pastor Ben explained the difference between two different soil environments: the environment of cement and the shallow environment. Just as a well worn, dirt path hardens after years and years of passersby, so our spiritual life hardens after years and years of discouraging words. Every time our friends or family question our church attendance or negate our allegiance to Jesus, our soil is hardened a little bit more, and the seeds that God is throwing our way are that much more unable to grow. After a while, all that is left is a slab of cement and dried up, dead seeds.
On the flipside, some of us fall victim to the shallow environment. In many cases, we are more than happy to have God sow seed in our lives. The trouble comes when…well…when trouble comes. If we are shallow soil, then the seeds that God sows will not be able to take deep root, leaving our seeds defenseless against the hardships that life often brings. When the storm comes, those seeds will have nothing to hold onto and nothing to sustain them, and in the end they too will be taken.
Our job, then, is to make sure that we are the best soil that we can be. We have to watch out for the words of well-meaning people that might cause us to second-guess our faith. We have to make sure that when it comes to God we are starting strong and finishing stronger. And we have to be able to catch ourselves when we start slipping into either of these environments. If we can do that, God will undoubtedly do the rest.
God is going to sow his seeds no matter what. The question is…what kind of soil are you?