In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells us a story about a farmer scattering seed. The seed ends up falling on four types of soil:
- On the path where people walk
- On rocky ground
- On soil already filled with plants having thorns
- On good soil
It's only the last type of soil, the good soil, which allows the seed to take hold and grow. In fact, Jesus says here is where a harvest of 30, 60 and even a 100 fold is reaped! As Christians, this is the type of soil we want to be cultivating.
How does Jesus describe these fertile soil Christians? They are those who hear and accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest multiple times over.
So, if this is the type of Christians we are called to be… what trips us up?
For most of us in the western world, the third type of soil is where we get stuck and find ourselves consistently off-track. In this thorny ground, three specific things lure us away from keeping God first in our lives.
The three things that trip us up are:
1. The Cares of this Life:
Social media feeds like Facebook, Instagram and others demand our time, as does what’s happening with our leaders in government, the latest Netflix series, etc. All of these and more consume us and seem so urgent.
2. The Lure of Wealth:
Many are sucked into thinking, “I’ll be happier when...” and so we over-work, neglect relationships and chase the almighty dollar. Therefore, we’ve never content, always comparing and largely dissatisfied.
3. The Desire for Nice Things:
The new car, the fun vacation, the weekend road trip, remodeled kitchen, new offices - the list goes on and on! All of these things cause us to wish we were enjoying life as much as others. We end up wondering when our ship is going to come in? Again, social media isn't our friend here!
So what do we do? How can we cultivate good soil instead of getting stuck in the thorns?
Here are three ideas for what you can do:
1. Practice Thanksgiving:
Gratitude fosters contentment which gives us more peace and helps us find daily joy in life. What are you thankful for today?
2. Get after it!
Perseverance and hard work is the best solution towards the hopes and dreams you want to achieve. Worrying, wishing or lamenting where you’re at compared to others does nothing compared to getting up early and getting things done.
3. Celebrate Others:
While negative comparison towards others can seem like the default, remember you do have another option! You can encourage, celebrate and even cheerlead your friends who are doing cool things in life. Choose to be their biggest fan and support!
What’s keeping you from living into this “good” soil? How can you re-calibrate to keep God first in your life? What are the temptations and tendencies keeping you from true fruitfulness, joy, and fulfillment?
Choose to go after the better life!