3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air[a] came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” 9 And He said to them,[b] “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Mark 4:3-9
As I have mentioned before, my husband and I have a deal. He takes care of the outside of the house and I take care of the inside. I prefer to clean the floors, wipe down the bathrooms, make the bed and clean out closets. I like that, in my opinion, Dave does all the real dirty work outside. I came home recently to find a large pile of limbs on the front lawn. A tree needed to be pruned back and the gardens needed to be cleaned out for the coming winter months. I don’t like that kind of “dirty”.
As I continue to study the Gospel of Mark with the ladies at my church I took another look at the soils described in Mark 4. In the past I considered that the parable of the sower and the seed was referring to the Gospel message being brought to places where it would either be heard and find nowhere to take root or it would be received and fruit would be the end result. However, I was convicted that this parable was speaking to me. In part, or even at times in whole, my heart can represent these various types of soil, too. How often do I receive seed from God’s Word and yet I choose to let it be blown away without a chance of taking root? There are hard places that need to be softened and rocky places that need to be cleaned out as well. The longer I walk with the Lord the easier the temptation is to ignore the signs that hardness is creeping back in or to continue to want to do the dirtiest of work to keep my heart soft, pliable and receptive.
The Gospel message is not just for unbelievers. Every day you I need to hear and know the Gospel message. Every day you and I need a message from God’s Word as He teaches us. Every day you and I must look at the soil in our hearts and remove the things that contribute to a hardened heart. Today I pray that you and I will not ignore the condition of the soil within our own hearts. You and I need to get our hands dirty.
Kathy Withers is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves as Acting Director of Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and teaches a Bible Study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.