As I’ve mentioned before I teach a Bible study for elementary-aged children. We are studying the Gospel of Matthew and this past week we were on Chapter 13. After we went through our lesson we played Soil Charades. One by one I took children outside and told them to go back in acting out a specific soil. This was fun, but short-lived because this amazing group of kids know the soils so well.
One child acted out throwing seeds along the ground and then morphed into a bird pecking up the seed. This represents people who are told the truth of the Gospel but do not understand it.
One child acted out the seed falling into the crevice of the rock. The child sprang up like a healthy plant, but then quickly withered. This represents people who hear the word and receive it with joy. “But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.” (13:22)
Another child acted out the seed that grew among the thorns. The child sprang up happily and grew for a moment. But then the thorns started to choke them out. Jesus explained that this represents a person who hears and understands the Gospel, but lets “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
The last soil had a masterful and darling actress. She sprung up from the seed with enthusiasm, and to represent her fruitfulness she kept popping up her little arms like new growth over and over, smiling her big beautiful smile the whole time. Jesus explained that this represents the person who hears the word, understands it, and produces a huge crop.
Jesus gave us such vivid pictures that it is hard for us to miss His point. I think if we take a moment to reflect honestly, we all know what kind of soil we are. And we all know that the best soil requires the work of the Spirit to root out weeds, worries and thorns. Reading the Bible, praying, living in biblical community, serving others, obeying God’s Word, these are all good things — wonderful things that would never impair the fertility of your soil, but I think this passage also has two very specific take-aways.
First of all, we should be testing our soil periodically. We need to take a look at our spiritual condition now and then to see what can grow in our hearts and lives. Materialism chokes out growth, as does worry. Good soil requires an eternal perspective.
Secondly, this passage is a reminder that we should be praying specifically for the right soil. We should ask for eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to understand, and a yieldedness to God’s will, not just for ourselves but for every person in our lives.
So, whose soil can you pray for right now?