“The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.” Matthew 13: 23
If you read the Parable of The Sower in full, you’ll hear about four different types of people. Three out of the four don’t exactly inspire. But the fourth one… man do I want to be like him.
Each person in the parable heard the News. But only the one with “good earth” was able to “take in the News” and from there produce a harvest.
So what is the “good earth”?
This is the earth that is soft and deep. The earth that is free from hardness. The earth that is empty of all the things that could compromise the promise of new growth. But full of all things that will feed it. This is the earth that is doing exactly what it was meant to do.
This is the person whose heart is soft, who is open to correction, and who is seeking wisdom. The one who has made themselves submissive to God’s will and have let go of their own.
If I’m honest, there are days when I’m a little like all four of the people described in Matthew. Days when I hear a message and that part of my heart is still shallow and hard. And nothing more than an “Amen” and head nod will come from it.
And there are days when I hear the message and I know it’s true and it’s for me but I can’t seem to let go of the way I think things should be.
But then there are those glorious days when it’s just right. I’m ready. I’ve prepared the ground, I’ve done the work. It’s time. And the Holy Spirit will take a single verse and it seems the harvest will never stop.
I always want to be ready for whatever God is growing in my life. But I’m so thankful for the grace that covers the times I just miss it. Times I wasn’t paying attention, times I was distracted. I’ll claim that grace for the rest of my days, I’m sure.
But the hard truth is that sometimes we are aware, we aren’t distracted and we know that God is trying to do something. And we still resist. We puff ourselves up, get validation from others, and stick our flag in the ground trying to claim territory we have no right to.
The even harder truth… it’s pride. It’s not what you deserve, it’s not what you feel, it’s not standing up for yourself, it’s not the right thing to do in the circumstances.
It is 100% hard, cold pride. Nothing good grows from hard, cold places.
And what, you may ask, does that have to do with loving yourself?
So very much my dear friend. So very much.
Because while loving yourself does not mean demanding the very best, it does mean accepting the very best.
And in order to do that, you must realize that even though no, we don’t deserve this sweet mercy that we’ve been given. We are loved and it is that reason that we were offered it in the first place.
You do not have anything to prove. Only to accept. It’s a gift and it was given even when your heart is still hard and your ways your own.
And loving yourself means being emptied of all the bitterness, the anger, the jealousy, the regret, the self-doubt, and the “self”.
Allowing the hard places of your heart to be broken up and the weeds to be pulled up. Because it’s in that breaking and pulling that new growth begins.
We want the new growth. We need it. And we’ll only have room for the new when we let go of the old.
And a warning with a promise… that breaking, that emptying… it can be painful. Chances are it will be. But it will be worth it.
You’ll never be able to transform yourself because our instinct is to protect ourselves, hide ourselves from the pain. But sadly, the pain is necessary sometimes. And in that stripping away, breaking up, pulling out… that’s when we are transformed. That’s when we are changed.
And that is where you will produce a harvest beyond your wildest dreams. To love others more than you thought you’d love. To serve others beyond what you thought you’d serve. To go places farther than you thought you’d go.
It’s in that good soil that you’ll see overflow from all the things the Lord is planting in your life. And in that overflow you’ll see His glory reflected far more than you ever could have imagined. Your voice will be louder. Your reach will be wider.
So love yourself enough to tend to the garden that is your heart. Let God show you what needs to be pruned, ripped out, busted up, cultivated. Because I promise you that’s where you’ll find yourself. And that’s where you’ll find your purpose.