Are you a farmer? If not, ask one about his soil. Farmers are very concerned about the productivity of their land and will spend a lot of energy and money to prepare it and tend it. They will plow it under in the fall; disc it in spring; remove stones heaved up by frost; and then after planting they cultivate, spray, fertilize, and water. You need to work the dirt to produce a crop.
Jesus lived in a time when the vast majority of his listeners were connected directly to agriculture; thus many of his stories and parables had farm themes. One of his most famous illustrated the way in which the Word of God took root in people’s hearts: “The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15).
It is a bitter reality that the Creator’s tender request for a personal relationship with his creatures can bounce off their hearts the same way perfectly good seeds bounce off an asphalt road. People need to work the dirt when they hear the Word—pay attention, show respect, take it seriously, humble themselves, accept God’s rebukes, and believe God’s forgiving love.
In your private devotional reading of your Bible, screen out distractions, quiet your mind, and let God speak to you. In church, do your best to process your pastor’s message without critiques and forensics judging.
Work the dirt so the Word can produce its fruit in your life.