A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”Matthew 13:1-9
We are the soil, and it is our responsibility to make sure our lives are like good soil. Not hardened by hurts and disappointments, like the path. Not neglecting spending time with God and in his Word, so we have no depth, like the rocky places. Not filling our lives with rubbish and distractions, that take over and crowd out, like the thorns. But instead, be good soil, the type that is soft and ploughed, turned over by God, nourished by the Word and Spirit and set apart for God and his purpose.
There are lots of good people in the world, but what is the difference between us, as Christians, doing good and them doing good? I thought about the days when I’ve been like the path and I’m still kind and do good things, because I know I should, but it’s just carnal. It’s nice, but not enough. It’s just momentary and not eternal. In contrast, when I’ve cultivated the soil of my heart, centred on God, spent time in his Word, been attentive to him and sharp in my spirit, I’m like the good soil. And the difference is massive. It produces good fruit. It’s of the kingdom.
When the girls were small, we were walking in the graveyard and a rainbow appeared. My daughter, Chloe, ran and stood in the rainbow. I could clearly see she was actually in the rainbow. I felt God say to me, ‘You are in the promise, actually part of my promises. Don’t just admire the beauty of them from afar. Live in the promises, own them, keep showing others how to live in the promise too.’ Here are some examples of God’s promises:
- He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (Isaiah 40:29)
- God sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6)
- If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)
These are some amazing promises but to someone who is in the pit of despair and doesn’t have a relationship with God, how useful would it be for us to just tell people these promises. Faith without good deeds is dead (James 2:17). We are here to proclaim the good news, to be light and salt in the world, to bring God’s kingdom to earth, and this is physical and practical and not just spiritual, both natural and supernatural. One night we were out with the street work team and a man we knew came up to us with a massive swelling on his face. He had a huge abscess inside his mouth, he hadn’t eaten for days and he couldn’t even take a drink from us because it was that bad. So together, we laid hands on him and called his healing down from heaven and right there before our eyes his swelling disappeared. Then we got him a burger and a hot chocolate and we all praised God for his goodness and faithfulness.
God prepares God works like these beforehand for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). It is our responsibility and honour to keep the soil or our hearts and lives ploughed and nourished, so God’s seed can grow and be fruitful in the form of good works like these.
We need to know who we are in him and what his promises are. And not just admire his promises from a distance but live in them. We can speak truths/promises into and over people’s lives, along with practically loving them. This is what we are here for. We’re never going to come into contact with anyone who God doesn’t love and hasn’t got a plan for. And if we know they don’t know it, we should be making it our business to let them know it. Not in a forced way, but by listening to the Holy Spirit in us, by being attentive and using the gifts we have been given.
Do you know the number of people going around not knowing how loved and valued they are? God has equipped us with everything we need to walk alongside such people and invite them into a relationship with him And that will look different for all of us. And that’s okay!