Good Soil

a prayer for a soft heart

Danielle Steffens | Dani's Drive
By Danielle Steffens

On that day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, while the whole crowd stood on the shore.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown. Let anyone who has ears listen.” (Matthew 13:1-9 CSB)

I’ve read these words many times and heard the associated teachings. The seed is God’s Word and the state of your heart determines how His Word will be received. Typically, these verses give me pause and I reflect on the current state of my heart.

Is my heart a hard path? A place where the Word remains loose and exposed, able to be snatched away in a moment. 

Is my heart shallow and rocky? A place where without hesitation the Word gets soaked up, only to be released just as quickly at the first sign of persecution or to instead grasp a worldly distraction. 

Is my heart full of thorns? A place where the Word is heard but choked out by negative influences in my life.

Or is my heart good soil? A place where the Word is evaluated and studied. A place where it is questioned and internalized. A place where it takes root and grows, producing pleasant, juicy fruit.

Sitting in a small Minnesota town, not far from Minneapolis, amidst days of protests following the murder of George Floyd and the cries of pain from the Black community, this passage comes to mind and my soul stirs as I link it with a new application. Again, I pause to reflect but this time, I’m not focused on how the state of my heart will affect my receipt of God’s Word. I’m focused on how the state of my heart will impact how I internalize the reality of the deep unrest, pain, and oppression felt by the Black community.

Racism runs deep in this country. It is more prevalent than most are willing to admit. More prevalent that I was willing to admit three weeks ago. It exists in the conscious and the subconscious, ruling its ugly head in big and little ways.

I can’t control what others choose to do during these times, but I can control myself. I can choose to turn my complacency and ignorance into fierce action. 

I can choose to be good soil.

Soil that is soft and not just open to listening, but actively seeking. Not complaisant with the status quo.

Soil that isn’t shallow and will do the uncomfortable work. Soil that won’t pretend to absorb and defend only to backtrack at the first sign of resistance.

I can choose to stand up to the thorns. Will some of their stabs be painful? Yes. Will some react by cutting deeper? Absolutely. I can’t soften the thorns, but I can choose to be strong when their attacks come and stand up for what is right.

With God’s help, I can strive to be good soil. I pray that He will help me learn and internalize. That the state of my heart will allow what I learn to take root within me. That those roots will grow deep and produce the fruit of real change. Active and persistent change. Change that inspires more change around me.

I choose to be good soil.

Good Soil | Dani's Drive
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