by Rob Dunne
“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundred.” Mark 4:20
During summer break in college, I got a job building tennis courts. One of the many facets to building a tennis court was surrounding it with a chain link fence. Every post requires a fairly deep hole. To achieve this, you must use a variety of tools.
To say that this was labor intensive is an understatement. You start out using a post hole digger. Once you get past the first foot or so of soil, you encounter rocks. The deeper you go, the bigger they get. Occasionally, you hit a boulder. We would try to work them out with a steel digging bar. If they were particularly big, we busted out the jackhammer. Either way, we got them out of the ground.
Jesus shared a parable about sowing seed and how it thrives in good ground. He explains that the sower is someone who shares the Word of God (the seed) with others. It lands on four types of ground; the wayside, stony ground, among thorns and good ground.
The Word of God is a seed. For it to produce fruit, it must be planted. The ground is our hearts. If the seed is sown in shallow ground, it can get snatched out of our hearts. When sown among rocky ground, it cannot establish roots deep enough to sustain it against life’s difficulties. The final hindrance is thorns. The cares of this world can choke the Word of God out of our hearts and keep us from becoming fruitful.
We must take responsibility for the ground of our hearts. Initially, a pastor sowed the Word in my heart. Once I understood that Jesus paid the price for my sins and restored my relationship with the Father, the responsibility of maintaining that relationship became mine. This meant reading the bible and spending time in prayer. Neither of these things were an obligation or requirement. Rather, they were things I longed to do because of my love of God.
There are a lot of things that harden our hearts to the things of God. Pride, being judgmental and self-centeredness are just a few examples. Jesus exhibited none of these traits. He humbled Himself by becoming a man, serving the needy and sacrificing Himself on the cross. Everyone should follow His example.
Living in the world and not being a part of it is difficult. That is particularly true here in the U.S. The majority of people are trying to keep up with the Joneses. Our credit is maxed out as we buy the biggest house, the fanciest car and the latest gadget. We focus on acquiring material possessions rather than on our relationship with God. Living out the gospel becomes an afterthought. These cares choke out the Word.
In Matthew 6:22, Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Disciples have to be single minded. It is imperative that we spend time getting the Word deep in our hearts, removing anything that hardens our hearts to the things of God and caring more about the kingdom than the things of this world. When we do that, Jesus promises we will produce a harvest that yields thirty, sixty or a hundredfold. How are you preparing the ground of your heart today?