The gardens around our home are becoming more beautiful and lush. Mainly due to my wife’s ‘green thumb’. She’s a wiz at gardening. Removing critters that eat away with abandon. Weeds don’t have a chance. New ideas grab hold of her only to make our gardens even more gorgeous.
The earth that makes up our home lot consists of river rock soil. Sounds fine until you want to dig into it. Almost impossible. Hit rocks at every turn. Can hardly make a dent. But after eight years of hammering away, it’s coming along and giving way.
What makes the difference? Good old compost. Fresh scraps from meal preparation, coffee grounds, wood chips, and especially the gifts given by worms who eat that stuff leaving casings (manure) that add richness to our compost. Planting this mixture into our soil, and blending it thoroughly, produces a gumbo of luxurious soil. Compost.
Matthew 13 contains Jesus’ parable about soil. A farmer spreads seeds over his fields. Most wind up falling on less than favorable soil conditions that then produce a poor crop, if any at all. Some get eaten by birds right off the bat. Other seeds have shallow roots and don’t survive. Some grow up between noxious weeds that choke the life out of them. The last group is planted in good soil, grabbing hold and producing crops like gangbusters. Thirty, sixty, one hundred-fold of grain galore!
Later on, Jesus explains to His disciples that the good soil represents God’s Word implanted in them and then acted upon–‘As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields…’ (Matt. 13:23). The good earth of God’s Word leads to a productive life for Jesus. That’s what I want. To be useful for the Master. Who wouldn’t?
I picture the Lord’s good soil involving compost. For when you read your Bible you come across all kinds of characters. A concoction of personalities and abilities. Much like you and me. Many start out strong for God and then wind up on some trash pile somewhere out in the desert. Like King Saul and Solomon. Others amble along trying to avoid trouble, only to find it smack dab in their faces. Like Gideon and Job. While some finish up fully committed to the Lord, yet paying the ultimate price with their lives. Like most of Jesus’ apostles.
So, that good soil involves messy stuff like those Bible madcap eccentrics. Like you and me! Tossed out as abject failures. Full of regrets. Sinners, yet forgiven, thankfully. All the spoiled stuff of our lives can meld and blend together in the warmth of God’s Word into something useful for Jesus. Like compost.
I need this message. I’m sure there are others who do also. For when we keep reminding ourselves how horrible we’ve been, then Satan robs us of the joy of God’s forgiveness. When we get stuck in the past, not letting go of what God has forgiven, then we can’t effectively serve Him. Puts us on our back foot, off balance, and dizzy. Too much looking in the rearview mirror, missing what’s right in front of us, becoming useless soil.
I need to put His promises into action. Planted and rooted in the good soil of His Word. Where can I hear Him? You know. Your Bible. The true good earth. Time to plant?
Why not give Jesus our compost, the jumble and muddle of our lives? What we’ve mishandled and mismanaged. And watch what He makes of it. Surprising what good can come out of our seeming messes when given to Jesus. Give it a try. You’ll see! Want to?
Lord Jesus, thank you for placing me in the best place of all, right next to you. Amen.