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Digging Up Our Dirt

It’s funny how you can read the same passage of scripture your entire life and fail to apply it to yourself.  It seems remarkably blind to always see how others measure up to truth without holding the same yardstick to ourselves, but it seems I’ve done it.

My current reading plan has me plowing through the New Testament every thirty days.  My plan is to read it twelve times in 2011.  This being February, I’m on my second round through and already the words are striking me in ways that they haven’t in the past.

In Luke 8:4-8, Jesus shares a parable about sowing seed into different kinds of soil.  Some of it is thorny, some is rocky, and some, of course, is good soil. I’ve always read this through the lens of evangelism – that the seeds of the Gospel find their way to hearts in various conditions, and the fruit that it produces is in according to the soil on which it fell.

I understand the parable from an agricultural perspective.  From the time I was fourteen I was cultivating our family’s wheat fields.   Some of the ground we farmed was run of the mill North Dakota topsoil, fairly flat and spotted with rocks that churned up from so many freeze/thaw cycles each year.  Some of the ground we farmed was abysmal.  We had one ninety acre patch that was almost sandy, with the topsoil thin over the hilltops.  We grew rye there because not much else would take root, and eventually through the miracle of US Agriculture policy, made slightly more money farming nothing on it.  We also had some amazing ground – deep, dark earth that we could always count on to produce a great yield, given enough rain and providing we could survive without a hail storm.

The cultivator would spread forty feet across behind a four wheel drive tractor.  The depth at which it would tear through the earth was controlled by a hydraulic cylinder that would force wheels down against the ground and lift the tempered steel ‘shovels’ out of the ground if it was too hard, if it struck a rock, or for transport to another field.  In some places, I’d have to cultivate for hours never taking my hand off the eight inch handle that controlled the hydraulics because danger lurked on every bumpy trip across the field.  On good ground, however, I could drop the cultivator deep, throttle the big diesel wide open, and turn that midwestern soil over, acre after acre, to the soundtrack of an AM radio blasting in my ear.

This morning, I read Luke 8 and for the first time, I wasn’t casting the seed.  I was the soil beneath the Sower’s feet.  I realized how I was accountable for the truth dropping around me like seed looking for a place to germinate.

Verse 15 declares “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” (NKJV)

I’m setting my sights on a noble heart today…a heart that produces a crop year after year, one the Sower can count on to produce a great crop of righteousness for Him.  I want to be the sort of field that allows Him to drop the cultivator, turn over the soil, plant the seed and expect a crop.


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