In the parable of the sower, Jesus compared the condition of our hearts to soil types. The hard path represents the heart hardened to God’s Word. The rocky soil represents a shallow heart unable to withstand trouble or persecution. The soil choked with weeds represents a heart distracted by worries and prosperity. And the fertile soil represents a heart that produces a fruitful life.
Soil and hearts both need plowing to allow seed to settle deep enough to grow and to create paths for roots. Sometimes God plows our lives with trials and tough times that turn our life—our soil upside-down. We can also plow with prayer, asking the Lord to break up our hard parts, turning our lives over for examination, and letting His Holy Spirit aerate our hearts. The act of plowing is painful and sweaty—but worth it.
Soil and hearts need careful maintenance to remove rocks and weeds. “The worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things” act just like weeds. By stealing our resources of time, energy, money, and focus, they inhibit our growth. They block the view of the Son and His empowering light. We need to be vigilant for weeds and brutal about removing them.
Soil and hearts also need proper fertilizing. For plants, the proper balance of water and nutrients leads to the greatest growth and highest yield. Likewise, our hearts need a constant and balanced diet of prayer and Bible study, fellowship and worship. Then we can yield the fruit of service and giving, ministry and outreach.