Souls, soils, and me

Soil and grass under tree. Environment concept with a grassy area and the words soil to reveal the ground beneath the tree royalty free stock image

Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure, and then he hid it in the field again. The man was very happy to find the treasure. He went and sold everything that he owned to buy that field

            When I started teaching, I had such a strong Appalachian accent that when I would say “soil”, it could easily be mistaken for “soul” or vice versa, even to my own ears. (Hence, it was only appropriate that I would title my blog, “soul scientist” since I still have this accent). Thus, to be understood by my colleagues and students, I had to slow down and purposely say soil or soul depending on which one I wanted to use at the moment. This deliberate action to distinguish between the two words also made me slow down and think closer about what I wanted to say. The need for slowing in thought and in speech then was a very good thing and still is now over twenty years later.

            As a soil scientist, I use the word “soil” a lot nearly every single day. As a Christian, I need to be using the word “soul” a lot more often every single day. And I need to be paying even more careful attention to the condition of my soul than the condition of the soil samples for my research or classes. I need to slow down my thoughts, and especially my words, to focus on Christ, the One who has a beautiful plan for today for both the soil and the souls of my colleagues, students, and me. For when I slow in both thoughts and words, then I can hear Christ speaking to the soil of my soul in the truth that will forever change me and my thoughts, words, and actions in good and beautiful ways.  

I’ve heard many lessons and sermons on the parable of the seed, sower, and soils in Matthew 13:1-9. These sermons and lessons have expounded on the importance of having our souls to be good soil for our Savior and Sower. Some of these sermons/lessons even included some information about the soil itself which made this soil scientist very happy!

These lessons and sermons made me want to dig for more wisdom and instruction in Scripture, both as a soil scientist and as a Christian. In return, God has been so gracious with the gift of the joy of finding hidden treasures of such truths in fields other than in Matthew 13. (Yes, I absolutely did go there with the pun about Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure, and then he hid it in the field again. The man was very happy to find the treasure. He went and sold everything that he owned to buy that field).

So many times I am writing about the interactions of soil science and Jesus, my soul’s desire, I am convicted about the poor condition of the soil of my heart and the need for repentance of pride. And this conviction reminds me of what I usually tell my students before we venture out on a soils field trip, “it’s not a good soils field trip if you come home with clean hands and clothes”. Similarly, if I leave the reading of Scripture before seeing, being convicted by, and changing in response to the sacrifice of Christ in covering the dirt of my sins with His blood, then I haven’t really listened, much less learned in the doing. Jesus desires that my soul and life be good soil for the work of the Master for His glory and the good of His people. Thus, I am praying for change in the soil of my soul for the 100-fold harvest of the Word to be produced in my life as seen in Matthew 13:9. Only Christ can bring the change. Only Christ can bring the harvest.

Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021

 

Published by Beth Madison

author, speaker, learner

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