“Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” – Mark 4:8-9
As someone with no background in farming and absolutely no clue how farming works, it’s probably unwise for me to blog about a parable rooted in this line of work. But I’m a brave soul, so here it goes.
The natural inclination is to read this parable, compare the soils, and say, “I want to be the last one? How do I do that?” We all want to be good soil. We want to yield a good crop. There is a problem, however.
Soil can’t make itself good, and neither can you.
Soil has to have both the benefits of nature and the hard work of the farmer to be good. So if we are the soil in the parable, and we want to be good, what do we do?
The danger in reading Scripture is that we tend to take it in chunks that were never meant to be separated from a longer dialogue. This is one of those cases. This parable is situated amidst a larger dialogue, and it is helpful to look at the rest of the conversation to get at what Jesus is trying to say.
In the same dialogue, Jesus talks about a lamp, a growing seed, and a mustard seed. He tells the disciples (and us) that truth will not be kept hidden, that a seed will grow in ways mysterious to the grower, and that even the smallest of seeds yields a massive harvest.
According to Jesus, this is also how it works in the Kingdom.
Simply put, if you want to be good soil, seek the truth of the Kingdom. It will reveal the kind of soil you are. Trust that this truth will go to work in ways you will not understand and that even the seemingly insignificant events of your life can be orchestrated by God to have significant impact on you and your world.
You cannot make yourself good soil, but through Christ, God is already at working preparing you for the fruit that will bring a harvest for the Kingdom.