By Jason R. Shine
Oftentimes we hear good inspirational/motivational messages that cause us to think about and examine our lives from a different lens. We get excited and call the message “life-changing”, as we think about the ways we will implement what we’ve learned. The challenge we experience, though, is that “life change” only happens if we change our lives and actions.
The Parable of the Sower* talks about a farmer who planted seed. Some of the seed fell on the hardened soil and the birds ate it up. Others fell in the gravel; sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, and withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds and was choked, leaving no results. Finally, some fell on good soil and produced a harvest that exceeded the farmer’s “wildest dreams.”
So what does this parable mean? Let’s examine it from the perspective of an inspirational word, which we will call our “seed.” It’s important to note the seed is the same throughout the story. What makes the difference is the type of ground on which the seed falls.
The Hardened Soil
The first ground mentioned in the parable is characterized as “hardened soil.” This is the type of ground that is so stubborn it doesn’t allow anything to penetrate it. It’s unreceptive, uncorrectable and unresponsive. It’s the type that has experienced hurt or disappointment in the past and has yet to recover. Any seed on this ground is simply carried away by others.
The gravel at first glance seems better than the hardened soil, in that the seed is able to penetrate enough to sprout. Not only does it sprout, it sprouts quickly! The problem is the enthusiasm is not met with sufficient character (roots) to sustain growth. When the emotions wear off and challenges present themselves, there are no tangible results left. If not properly addressed, the disappointment of the gravel can lead to hardness of the soil.
I believe the majority of “would be successful” seeds find themselves falling amongst the weeds. This type of ground is fertile and ready for growth. In fact, the problem is NOT a lack of productivity; the ground produces VERY well! The problem in this case is what it is producing – weeds. Sadly, the weeds are so powerful that they absorb all the time, energy and strength from the ground, such that the desired seed is overwhelmed and strangled.
The Good Ground
So what is the “good ground” that will produce a harvest? Well, if you haven’t already gotten the message: we are the soil; and it is IMPERATIVE we examine which soil we are so that we make the necessary adjustments to realize the desired results!
If you find yourself hardened by the past; by disappointment or hurt, there is hope! Begin to moisten the dry ground of your heart through forgiveness. It may be a family member; a spouse or even a friend. Perhaps, the person in need of forgiveness is you. Forgive yourself; forgive your family; forgive your enemy and let it go. The only ground affected by unforgiveness is you!
To our gravel friends: enthusiasm and excitement helps the process along, but only character sustains it! There is no quick road to achievement and no express route to results. It is only through patience and endurance that we lay hold of our destiny.
If you are choking in the weeds, you are not alone. Bills must be paid. Work must be done. Projects must be completed. It’s Life – and it happens to everyone! So how do we live life and change our lives at the same time?
The Good Ground is one that is FOCUSed. Today, I ask all of us to FOCUS. To examine what’s really important; what’s really necessary. If we really, really look at our lives we may find that only one thing is needful. Focus today on elevating your perspective so that you can see above the weeds into a rich land of abundant opportunity. You deserve it and the world deserves you!
*The Parable of the Sower is found in Mark 5 (The Message Bible)