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Soil Conditions

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by ZiSunka, Mar 30, 2002.

  1. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'


    Matthew 13, Luke 8

    We all know that different plants require different soil conditions. Some need deep, moist soils (pitcher plant), some need shallow, rocky soils (lakeside daisy), and some will grow just about anywhere (Siberian elm). Commonly, when we’re working with a new plant, we consult a guide to determine if our soil type is conducive to optimum development and growth. We also know that sometimes soils can be modified slightly to accommodate plants that otherwise would not flourish. We might till the soil or add sulfur, lime or organic material to make it more fertile and productive.

    Likewise, we know that there are different conditions of the soul in which God may plant the seeds of the spiritual life. Luke chapter 8 tells the parable of the seed and the soil. The word of God falls into the lives all types of people, but not all people can respond to it in a manner conducive to development and growth. Some people hear the word of God and reject it right away, because their hearts are hard and dry. Some people hear the word and are initially full of joy, but then let it whither when something distressing happens. And others blossom and bear fruit because their hearts were well suited for the word of God.

    Have you ever considered that the less fertile conditions of the heart may be modified just like soil? Do hearts hardened to the word of God have to stay hardened? Does faith too shallow to survive have to stay that way? Can we do anything to help prepare others' hearts for the word?

    I've known people who were completely closed off to the gospel because of the actions of "Christians." An extreme case is a friend of a friend who recently died of AIDS. Although he was dying and was fearful of the Hell that he knew was his destiny, he was unable to accept salvation. As a child, he had been literally beaten with a Bible by his parents, who felt that acting out "God's rage" was an appropriate way to punish their little boy's misdeeds. He died longing for salvation, but unable to believe that the God who wrote that tool of torture could be a loving being. Surely, those parents damaged the "soil" of his heart. I cannot think of a more tragic story.

    If it is true that the soil of the heart can be destroyed by our actions, can it be incorrect that we can enrich the heart's condition? Throughout the scriptures, it is clear that God is close to the broken-hearted. One meaning of "broken" is "plowed and ready for planting."

    A little girl named Alice was severely abused during her eight years of life. She had been removed from her parents' home but had already become violently repulsed by the attentions and affections of others. Since she never learned how to reach out others for comfort and support, she developed desperate personality problems which repelled even her paid caregivers. Her behavior was so bad, that she could not be placed in a regular foster home, but had been sent to a clinic for disturbed children. Social workers and psychologists advised that the best way to cure her problem was to ignore the rejecting, violent behavior. By giving her less attention, she would learn to ask for kindness.

    One day Alice had been caught hitting another child. The adults hurried the other children out of the room, leaving Alice all alone. The deranged child began to beat her head against the wall in frustration. The adults just turned their backs and kept silent. One man could not bear the sounds of this waif injuring herself, and rushed back into the room and grabbed her and held her tightly but lovingly. She struggled and screamed, but the man would not let go. After more than an hour, the girl finally relaxed and began to cry. She held on to the man who had shown her steadfast support and cuddled in his arms. Soon after that, Alice was able to live in peace, because she had discovered that there is such a thing as unreserved love. It was something that she had never known before. Her heart had been compacted by abuse, but this man's loving action had plowed her hardened soil and allowed her to grow. Saint Paul spoke of a similar situation when he said, " [I am writing to you] So that you might change your minds and forgive him and comfort him so that he is not swallowed up by unbearable remorse. I beg you to confirm your love toward him. (2 Corinthians 2:7-8)"

    My first boss, Tom (not his real name), was a hard, mean man who loved to be vulgar and to mock people. It was very distressing to work in the same office with him. One extremely hot day, my coworkers were expressing concern for a tiny wild rabbit that lived outside our building. Tom confessed in almost a whisper that he had just been downstairs to set out a pan of water for the little animal. I was astonished! I thought that this man had no heart! Yet he had cared more for the welfare of the little creature than any of us had! I often wonder what would have happened if I had shown this man more kindness and gentleness. Would he have softened and become receptive to the word?

    It is not our job to break people's heart or to plow their souls. That's God's work. But it is our job to treat people with the same love and respect that He shows to us. The kind of love that nurtures and encourages growth. Let us, too, act in ways that will nourish other's hearts, not harden and weaken them.

    (Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy other's blessings or boast about its own. Love is not smug. It is not ill-mannered, nor selfish nor easily irked. Love does not believe evil gossip. It does not rejoice when others do wrong. It rejoices when the truth is told. Love endures all things, has faith in all circumstances, and persists in all trials. Love never gives up.
    1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
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  2. heather

    heather Junior Member

    Dear Lambslove, I loved your post. I agree with you, that showing love to others is the best way to let them see God. My pastor says that less said is better, that actions speak louder than words. I for one can testify that love allowed me to be saved. My sister-in-law is a born again Christian, of the particularly condemning kind. All that happened when my husband and I spent time with them is that we shut them out, treated them nicely but discounted their religion. When I met a pastor that oozed God's love, I was drawn toward salvation. Now am trying to show God's love to my husband, not preaching, but praying and hope that some day he too will be saved.
  3. Blessed-one

    Blessed-one a long journey ahead

    thank you lambslove.
  4. Kristen

    Kristen Blah Blah

    What a wonderful post. Thank you for reminding us that we all can make a difference.