Good Soil

Good Soil

For Joy… may you find some good soil with our good God this day.

“Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.’” (Matthew 13:3-9).

He who has ears, let him hear.

I’ve been listening to this passage of scripture for several months now. An intentional haunt of sorts, both on my end and on God’s. A hearing so intense that I cannot shake its echo. Let me tell you what my heart has been hearing as I read.

“Good soil.”

Not the well-trampled soil, nor the rocky or the thorny soil, but rather, the good soil.

What qualifies one more than the other? What makes the earth beneath the sower’s seed more viable for the growth over the others? How do we define our lives accordingly … within the sacred ground of the good rather than in the contemptibleness of the others?

Why not the less desired? After all, our lives are mired in the well-trampled and the rocky. Why not some growth in the common place of our common walk rather than in the pasture lands of a lush and green that often seem too far out of reach and too far beyond reason? Why not in the thorny and in the loosened earth that cradles our weary feet?

Good questions. Ones that I have thought a great deal about in recent days. And here’s what I think as it pertains to the seeding of God’s Word into the good soil of our hearts over the seeding of it elsewhere.

Good soil is the preferred breeding ground for God’s best because good soil is the most receptive to its growth.

Good. Kalos in the Greek meaning “good, honorable, beautiful, sound. Good as to quality and character.”[i]

If God’s Word, which is the seed, is to stick and to know the bounty of a fruitful harvest, then it is worthy of an honorable and beautiful soil. A soil of sound and quality character that willingly and carefully guards the sacred planting with all intentions of seeing it come to full bloom.

Good soil is meant for Godly living, but good soil is not always an easy find.

Why?

Because to get to the good one has got to be willing to walk through the others. Good is hidden. Good is deep. Good is buried and is contrary to human nature. But make no mistake, good is there. It just takes getting through a few layers to unearth the soil that was meant to seed the good of God’s intention.

The heart.

A difficult find most days because on most days, the well-trampled and rocky and thorny is the common pounding beneath our feet. Even today, many of you are walking the ills of such a path. Perhaps, you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the trampling over and upon your lives through the feet of others who claim territorial rights that were never theirs to claim. Perhaps the rocks are the pebbled annoyance that is, not only impeding your progress but is, also, wounding your feet with the jagged rough and cut of sharp intention. Maybe the thorn’s prick against the tender of your moment bleeds too deeply … too suffocating … too fully so as to cut the life out of your faith.

And while our God is more than willing to sow his Word into those moments of our lives, he understands that in those times of difficult pilgrimage, his seed is likely to fall prey to the demands of the immediate, rather than taking root toward the eternal.

Thus, he waits for our rest in the good soil. He commits his time and his energy to the lush and the fertile green and asks for us to pilgrim through the less in order to arrive at his best—the ideal location for a beautiful and honorable planting.

In these moments of uninterrupted pasture, our Father opens up the treasures and secrets of the kingdom and generously pours their seeds into the furrows and gullies of our freshly tilled hearts. Without the well-trampled—the rocks and the thorns—to impede their roots, God’s secrets grow a beautiful crop.

A hundred fold. A sixty fold. A thirty fold. A good output based on a good input by a good God who makes our hearts into a good soil for a good Word. This is the way of a good and gracious life that lives to the full and that pours to the overflow.

I don’t know about you, but I am more than ready and willing to pilgrim the well-trampled, through the rocky and between the thorns, to get to the lush and green of a sacred planting.

Good soil, friends. God’s best. He who has ears, let him hear. Thus, I pray…

Keep me listening to the truth of your Word, God. Plug my ears to the insistent pleas of my temporary and unplug them accordingly to receive the seeds of your truth. Let me not forsake the journey to the verdant for the choking of the urgent. I long to rest in the pasture of your deep and hidden because I long to know the sacred seeding of a divine kingdom. Thank you for the privilege of knowing you, Father. You are good. You are God. Amen.

[i] Entry for “kalos,” The NIV Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible (Chattanooga: AMG Publishing, 1996), 1637.

Copyright © March 2009 – Elaine Olsen

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24 Responses to Good Soil

  1. And let me learn to enjoy peace during the actual journey through the choking, rocky, barren, and muddy because I know the verdant is a promise.

    Beautifully said, as always.

  2. Oh, how I long for good soil! I need more patience to walk through the rocky, thorny paths, so I can rest in the good. I want to grow and yield fruit for His glory. Thank you for these inspiring words. What an awesome thought!

  3. Mrs. Elaine, I have been thinking about this passage in scripture too since I went to a Living Proof event in KY last year. Beth’s message was on this. Sowing the Word of God in our lives and producing an 100-fold crop all to His glory!:) I echo your prayer.

    Blessings, Love in HIM, and ((HUGS)),

    katiegfromtennessee

  4. Give me a heart to enjoy the journey to the deep rich soil in Him.

    Thanks for this beautiful post Elaine. When I am seeking the Lord to speak right to my heart, I make sure to stop by here.

    Please keep me in your prayers. I am heading off to a Christian writers conference in April. Doubt and fear have been choking out my good soil lately. Doing better after hearing from Him this morning. Hallelujah.

  5. I remember helping my father get the soil ready for planting the garden – the tilling, picking out rocks and creating the bed to welcome the seed. Not easy work. Not fun work. Yet, once the seed was placed, joy came quickly with each sprout and eventual harvest. Thank you for bring to mind a word picture from my heart.

    Blessings,
    Denise

  6. Your description of a “pilgrimage” rings reminiscent of the book “Hinds Feet on High Places.” God used that book to change my heart and my life some years ago. Thanks for the reminder of where He’s brought me from and where I want to follow Him to.

  7. “If God’s Word, which is the seed, is to stick and to know the bounty of a fruitful harvest, then it is worthy of an honorable and beautiful soil. A soil of sound and quality character that willingly and carefully guards the sacred planting with all intentions of seeing it come to full bloom.”

    Elaine, I haven’t been guarding that sacred soil. I’ve allowed roots of bitterness and anger these past few days and my ground is thorny, trampled and treacherous.

    “Maybe the thorn’s prick against the tender of your moment bleeds too deeply … too suffocating … too fully so as to cut the life out of your faith.” Not maybe, my friend, not maybe.

    Thanks for understanding my difficult pilgrimage, yet gently watering the ground of my heart for growth in the good.

    Praying today that I will allow the Gardener to remove the hardened clay and dig down to the good beneath the surface, fertilize it with His love so that His growth can continue in me.

    “I long to rest in the pasture of your deep and hidden because I long to know the sacred seeding of a divine kingdom. Thank you for the privilege of knowing you, Father. You are good. You are God. Amen.”

    Thank you my friend, for giving me such a gift. Being tilled alongside you and welcoming His good seed today.

    Love ya Elaine. Thanks again for your call last night…oh, just knowing I have a friend and I’m not walking alone…

    Hugs,
    Joy

  8. This post has given me,hope.
    I had a visit with my son this week and it was so sad. He is lost,he seems to be giving up.

    My heart has been heavy,then these words pierced my heart…”Thus, he waits for our rest in the good soil.” My son will stop running from God and he will someday rest.

    I needed to read this,thank you!

  9. I’m finding that the richest soil is the soil He has been tilling, removing the weeds, the rocks, changing the ‘garbage’ of old wounds to rich compost….in this soil His seed permeates, taking full root…little by little…in different areas…

    I echo your heart and prayer here, Elaine..so glad you could minister to Joy..
    Love, Sita

  10. This is one of my favorite parables and I was blessed by your teaching. What I struggle with more than getting through the rocky paths is being patient enough to let the Lord be the gardener of my heart…letting Him work the soil over and over until it is ready for what He wants to plant there. He has to throw out unwanted rocks, pull out stubborn weeds, add things to make it more fertile, etc. It’s not always a gentle process to work the land to get it ready for planting.

  11. Here you've struck one of your best chords, Elaine. Who among us hasn't found ourselves mining lifeless soil to no avail? Or watering rocks with our own tears?

    Here is the hope that makes each journey, each step upon the straight & narrow way, a trip like no other. Thank God the Gardener knows best how to prepare both the soil and those which are to be planted … and then to plant, fertilize and give growth – with each one different in both time & type. In His time.

    Kathleen

    P.S. It was this text that both baffled and comforted me in my early days as a believer some 35 years ago.

  12. wifeforthejourney:

    Your presence in my life has always helped lead me through the bad and even the OK, to the very best that God has for me. For all of life’s lean seasons, our ups and downs, thank you for your unswerving committement to the Lord.

    The fruits of your labor and love are still being borne out in our children, our church, and in the lives of so many through the internet and beyond.

    I love you!

    ~ Billy

  13. I have never thought of it this way – yet it makes perfect sense. This is the cry of my heart, and i didn’t know it until I read this. Thank you, Elaine.

  14. I pray the Lord will be able to find “Good Soil” in me!

    God bless you!

    Marilyn

  15. Yes, Elaine, God is the one who can make our hearts into good soil. Can’t help but think of the words to an old hymn: “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee! Every hour I need Thee…”

  16. I quote you: "A hundred fold. A sixty fold. A thirty fold. A good output based on a good input by a good God who makes our hearts into a good soil for a good Word."

    I simply love this Elaine. Praise the LORD.

    Father God, I lay myself out before You and I pray that You use me to plant Your seeds. I love & honor You and only You Father God. Praise be to YOU in Jesus' name, amen.

  17. Lots of rocks still to dig out in me still, I’m afraid. But what a wonderful picture you presented of where we can go! I want that bottom picture to be me!

  18. This post reminds me of my gardening…Every Spring I spend quite a bit of time on my knees – clearing out the weeds and the rocks, digging deep to loosen the outer shell, exposing the soft earth…the good soil. Only after preparation can the seeds take root and grow, bearing the fruit of labor.

    Our “spiritual gardens” need to be prepared as well. :o)

    Thanks, Elaine…another great post!

    Love you

  19. A very fertile post, Elaine! (Pun intended.) 🙂

    A similar word that the Lord has given me is “rich land”. About a year ago, He specifically called us out of the church where we were members and specifically led us to another. One of the Scriptures that He gave me was Deuteronomy 8:7-9:

    “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land–a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.”

    May we all have such good soil and such rich land … in our corporate Church, in our local assemblies, and in our individual lives!

  20. Amen, Elaine. Sometimes I have to dig deep to find that good soil. Love this parable. Beautiful retelling.

  21. God, the intentional gardener. And you know that it takes time to prep the soil…

    being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

    till the soil, Lord… till the soil!