This past week was a very busy week on KST farm. We were harvesting sweet potatoes, preparing garden beds for their winter sleep, and making a new garden bed for our strawberries. The process can be painless unless there are clumps of clayish soil to contend with, in which case you may need to thoroughly mix some sand, humus and/or peat moss to loosen up the clay clods.
Before next spring planting, you need to condition the soil with mushroom compost, or some sort of cured, not raw, manure (cow, sheep, or chicken). Fold in the compost or manure into the soil then rake it, making sure the soil is loose and crumbly, level, and smooth. The soil conditioner you add will eventually break down and supply the soil with beneficial organic matter. Cover the prepared bed with a layer of straw or weed covering. This will help to keep the soil moist, and help healthy microbes and fungi to grow, inviting worms to aid in water filtration and aeration.
When I think about the soil and what you have to do to prepare it so it will be ready to plant in, I think about what we must do to be ready in order for our soul’s “soil” to be planted by the Lord. Whenever the Word of God is preached through His faithful servants, there are four kinds of hearers upon which the seed of the Word falls.
First, there is the hard ground hearer. The interpretation is in Matthew 13:4. Here is the person who hears the Word but whose heart is hard; without depth the Word is not received. While it stays on the surface the birds come and take it away. Many people are like that: they come to church, hear the Word, and seem to like it, but the Word is on their hearts, not in their hearts. Judas Iscariot was like this (Luke 22:47-48).
Then there is the stony ground hearer. We read in Matthew 13:5 that the soil was too shallow, and it represents the hearer who is superficial. The interpretation is in Matthew 13:20-21. Many profess conversion; they even seem to do well until trouble or trials come, and then they give up. Simon Magus was a stony-ground hearer (Acts 8:9-24).
Next is the thorny ground hearer. Read Matthew 13:7. This is the double-minded hearer, one whose heart is worldly and preoccupied with money (Matthew 6:24). The interpretation is in Matthew 13:22. Many today appear to receive the word, but when they allow money and possessions and “the cares of this world” to rule and control their lives (Mark 4:19), the Word becomes choked. Ananias and Sapphira were thorny ground hearers (Acts 5:1-11).
And finally is the good ground hearer. Read Matthew 13:8. This is the hearer who is honest, receptive and fruitful. The interpretation is in Matthew 13:23; Mark 4:20; Luke 8:15. Nathaniel (John 1:45-51), the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39), and Cornelius (Acts 10:1-2, 44-48) are illustrations. They are not only hearers of God’s Word, but receivers and doers, also.
I want my soul’s soil to be such that it will receive the implanted seed of the Word of God, and through His Spirit water it, and through the Sun of Righteousness warm the soil and cause the seed to germinate and grow. May God bless each of you to be A Good Ground Hearer.