We’ve lived in our home for nearly twenty years now and the one thing I’ve learned is that we don’t always get projects done around our house quickly. Not that we don’t have the best intentions, it’s just that life takes over and the things we’d like to do get put on the back burner.
The west facing wall of our home has been one of those non-priority projects that has take a bit of time to accomplish. We remodeled our basement to create some new rooms a couple years ago to accommodate our growing family and we put in some egress windows. These make the bedrooms legal so we can have two ways of escape in the event of a fire. This requires digging out the ground around the basement wall, cutting holes in the wall and then putting in windows and window wells which keep the dirt back.
We’ve wanted to plant something along this side of the house for years, and we finally, and when I say “we”, I mean Jen and the girls. Okay, mostly Jen, but the girls assisted with the little ones while she was planting them.
We took great care in selecting our new plants and our desire is for them to grow and flourish in the place we picked to plant them. What will determines success depends on many things. We must do our part in order for there to be a chance of success, but we can’t guarantee it, only give them care and nurturing and then trust what we’ve done will be enough.
Do you see the similarity to the gospel and the planting of God’s Word into the hearts of those around you?
I’m primarily thinking of my children in this analogy, but it certainly applies to all we come into contact, and I’m always hopeful someone that reads this will consider themselves and those around them.
In order to increase our “odds” I must take some steps.
We must plant our plants in good soil. Iowa has a lot of clay and around our home is no exception. It’s so hard and sticky, when we dug the holes it was a big job just to keep the shovel on the back hoe clean. It’s very hard soil and it won’t grow plants well without adding top soil and fertilizer.
Matthew 13:8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
If we want to yield a crop, we must plant in good ground. Jesus tells us in the parable of the soils, not all the seed will fall on good ground, so it’s crystal clear that not everyone will receive the word. But if it’s up to us, we must spread good seed (The Word of God), and it must land on good soil. This is not soil that we have prepared, its soil that God has prepared, it’s God that opens hearts to receive His word.
…but we must prepare hearts to receive the word through teaching and proclaiming properly. In the case of my children I prepare their hearts by cultivating it with the Word of God. As a practical example this means sitting with them and opening the Bible, reading it and teaching from it.
This is my responsibility as a father to my children.
Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
If I don’t bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord, I’m provoking them to wrath. Fathers, you are provoking your children to wrath if you don’t bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Have you ever thought of it that way before? 
Prepare the soil to receive the good seed, by training and admonishing them, do it today and everyday you have opportunity. Don’t delay, because every day that soil can harden and become more like clay.
Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
It Needs Water
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
If the word is received on good ground and it appears to blossom for a while, that young plant will need watering through reading and study of God’s Word.
Do you know or are you a Christian that doesn’t read and study your Bible? Then you’re not a true Christian, or you are a rebellious one. Jesus tells us you will need this like plants need water to live.
John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Pull the Weeds
Weeds choke out and take over. If you don’t, fertilize, water and tend to the care of your lawn, or your garden you will have nothing but weeds. It’s true in this example and it’s true in the hearts of sinful man.
Matthew 13:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.
God’s Word is clear and so is the instruction for the Christian. If this doesn’t describe your life, I’d urge you to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Seek his righteousness first, and don’t put off the preparing of that soil.