Monday, December 6, 2010

Good Soil

When Jesus begins discussing the fourth soil, he does things differently.

Instead of explaining the condition of the soil, he just used a few basic terms and was done. The first he described as 'wayside' soil, giving listeners an image of a beaten-down, hard-packed, unchangeable and unproductive soil. In the second, the 'stoney-ground' soil, the mental picture was one of ground with rocks everywhere, too shallow to grow anything of value. The third soil, 'thorny' soil, brought the visual of ground full of dandelions, thistles, briers, and Johnson grass. This dirt is too busy with growing unusable things that it will not (implying choice) produce suitable fruit.
The fourth kind of soil is called 'good' in the NKJV. The Greek word is more rich in meaning -- "beautiful, excellent, surpassing, USEFUL, excellent in nature and characteristics". In one word Jesus set the standard for all 'soils'.
What is different in this soil? First it is pliable, that is manageable and responsive. It is not hardened and packed by sin. Second, it has depth. It has the characteristic of being sufficiently deep enough to support obedience and endurance (choice implied). Third, it it rich and cleared. It is fertile enough soil to support something besides sand burrs. It does not have conflicting interests. 
When this 'soil' hears the message, it takes it upon itself to use it to a constructive, effective, and practical end. This is pictured as other plants like itself.
This 'end' is quantified as 30 times, 60 times, or 100 times greater than the single seed that entered the soil. The soil causes the production of many new plants.
What is the product of this excellent soil? Jesus does not exactly say. His point is NOT about the product, but the soil.
Please, consider these questions.
1. What are the qualities that makes a person good 'soil'?
2. Where do these effective qualities originate?
3. Can these qualities be improved? Increased?
4. How do we remove the inappropriate qualities and add the effective ones?

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