We came from soil, we go back to soil, and we are sustained by soil. That makes soil a pretty important part of our lives. What’s the difference between soil and dirt? Dirt is what you find under your fingernails. Soil is what you find under your feet.
Think of soil as a thin living skin that covers the earth. It goes down into the ground just a short way. Even the most fertile topsoil is only a foot or so deep. Soil is more than rock particles. It includes all the living things and the materials they make or change.
Soil itself is very complex. It would be very wrong to think of soils as just a collection of fine mineral particles. Soil also contains air, water, dead organic matter, and various types of living organisms. The formation of a soil is influenced by organisms, climate, topography, parent material, and time.
Soil is also critical to our ecosystem and water cycle. The rain has to go somewhere, be held, feed plants and animals and evaporate, creating more rain. Different soils support different vegetation which are eaten or decay as part of the life cycle.
“And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.” Genesis 1:3
Some of the decayed plants and animals are consumed by us in the form of fuel.
Soil based products or organisms are used by us often such as glass and some medications.
Jesus taught the Parable of the Sower discussing Four Soils. A Parable is simply an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
He said, “A farmer went out to plant his seed. He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn’t much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It produced a crop 100, 60 or 30 times more than what was planted. Those who have ears should listen and understand.” Matthew 13: 1-9
The four soils represent the hearts of different kinds of people: the way they hear truth; and they way will conduct themselves after being confronted by the truth. Some simply can’t handle the truth.
Hard Path: Some of the seed fell on a path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some people hear the truth, but like hardened paths, they do not let it sink into their hearts Soon Satan takes the truth away. (In the Bible, birds are sometimes a picture of Satan.) If people do not receive and respond to the word with faith, their opportunity will be stolen by the evil one.
Rocky Places: Next, some of the seed fell onto rocky places. These people hear the message with great joy, but like seeds on rocky soil, they do not let it take root. They seem to be happy to hear about Jesus (the Truth) and His great love, but they do not let it sink into their hearts. On the outside, they may express great enthusiasm, but inwardly, they do not carefully consider it. There were great crowds who followed Jesus, but only a few were His true disciples. When these people face pressure or bad circumstances, they quickly forget about the Truth. A true believer follows Jesus no matter what.
Thorns: Still other seed fell among thorns. Some people hear the Truth and start to grow and bear fruit. But soon they become worried about the problems of daily living. They may think if they only had more money and more “things” they would be happy. These wrong beliefs take up all the person’s time and energy, just like the weeds steal all the nutrients from the good plants. These people do not focus on living in the Truth, so they don’t produce any spiritual fruit. There is nothing wrong with the sower or the seed. The problem is the soil, the person who hears the Truth. He must trust the Truth to deliver him from his worries and greed so that he can grow in the Truth.
Good Soil: Still other seed fell on good soil. It produced a crop 100, 60, or 30 times more than what was planted. Isn’t it great to know that some of the seed fell on good soil? This represents the people who heard the Truth and believed it. They put their trust in the Truth. Their hearts received the message of the kingdom, and the seed will take root.
There is a lot going on in our world today that can be traced to the Parable of the Sower.
People are being assaulted, shot, raped, murdered, or beheaded because the were in the wrong place, wore the wrong clothing, belonged to the wrong group or because they disagreed or used some word or phrase that arbitrarily became a real or imagined offense. Those who perpetrate the manipulation and crimes I just described would have in years past been placed in a locked ward for a significant amount of time for being a danger to themselves or others. Instead they presently have a significant influence upon what is being said on some media. Those who perpetrate the manipulation and crimes I described heard the truth and it fell on the hard path, rocky places or among the thorns.
Fortunately there are enough around who heard the Truth and it fell on the good soil. When it is time to rebuild what the others have destroyed it will done by those who have the deep rooted Truth growing in the good soil.
The good news is you can choose to plant Truth in the good soil at anytime.
Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) http://www.narrowpathministries.org and http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org
This pdf download link might be helpful to those who do or would like to garden or raise some crops.