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Discovery Magazine 11/1/2000

The Proper Soil

In today’s world of technology, farmers use huge machines to grow crops. We all probably have driven by a field that was plowed or planted by a gigantic tractor. All the rows of corn, soybeans, or cotton most likely were growing in straight rows created by an expensive planter.

But in Bible times it was very different. Farmers did not have huge tractors or planters that put the seeds in straight rows. Instead, they used a planting system sometimes known as "broadcast" farming. Broadcast sowing was very simple; the farmer would have a bag of seed hung around his neck. He would grab a hand full of seed from the bag, and toss or sow it evenly over the ground. The problem with this kind of farming was that not all of the seed fell on good ground.

Jesus told a story in Mark 4 about a "broadcast" farmer who sowed his seed on four different kinds of ground: wayside, rocky, thorny, and good. Unfortunately the seed only produced fruit when it landed on the good soil.

Jesus’ disciples did not understand this story, so they asked Him to explain it to them. He explained that the seed was the Word of God. One wonderful thing about this seed is that it always produces the same thing—just like a corn seed always produces corn. If the pure Word of God is taught, it only produces a New Testament Christian, and Christ’s New Testament church. The Word of God never produces new religions, but instead only New Testament Christianity.

However, Christ went on to explain that many times the Word of God does not produce fruit because the people who hear it do not have obedient hearts. God never forces people to believe or obey the Gospel, and many times people make the decision not to allow the Word of God to grow in their hearts. Only those people with good and honest hearts receive the Word of God and produce fruits of righteousness.

The wonderful thing about this story is the fact that a person can change his heart at any time. If someone has stubbornly refused to obey God’s Word in the past, then he has been like rocky soil. Yet anytime he wishes, he can change his heart and mind and become like good soil.

Every accountable person is like one of the types of soil Jesus described in His story. Which soil will you decide to be? Let’s all decide to be good soil and produce fruit for God.



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