More on the modern parable

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this link is for the podcast of this blog post:

click on links below for the previous segments of the modern parable series:

Rocky soils are as distinctive as hardened paths crisscrossing a field. Rocky soils aren’t always marked by boulders sticking up above the soil surface because they might be underlain by or threaded through with stones of varying sizes. Thus, rocky soils can easily be stumbling grounds for those who walk upon them, be it the farmer or her neighbors. Similarly, my sin isn’t contained to just hurting me, but anyone in the path of my words, actions, thoughts, or choices resulting from my stony sins pushing their way to the surface of the soil of my soul.

The soil particles themselves in rocky soils are often rich with nutrients or of good pH because of their nearness to the rocks under or within them. Yet the soil environment in a rock soil itself is not good ground because it is often shallow or only occurring in small disconnected pockets unable to sustain crop growth and development. This is because of inadequate space, air, water, or nutrient exchange capacity present in a shallow or pocketed soil. Hence, the description in Matthew 13 of the seeds quickly sprouting up but then dying in the rocky soil.

However, rocky soils can be very productive with a lot of hard work. Evidence of this principle can be seen in those fertile fields bordered by stone fences common to Kentucky. Such stone fences are made of stones dug up and hauled out from the fields they surround. The native limestone parent material of those fertile bluegrass soils produces that distinctive deep blue of the calcium- and magnesium-rich thick fescue-grass essential for those healthy racehorses with strong bones. When we lived in Kentucky, I loved to drive rural roads and see those weathered stone fences bordering lush bluegrass pastures dotted with happily grazing beautiful long-legged Thoroughbred mamas and their babies. Yet that was before I knew the story of these fences…

These stone fences are also referred to as slave fences because they were often built in pre-Civil War days by slaves tasked to make unused rocky soil fields ready for plowing and planting. The stones had to be removed so the plow-blade could cut into the soil for planting without being broken or bent by the stones. Then trash became treasure in that stone removal not only made a field ready for plowing, the stones were free, available, and good solid material for fence-building to keep in livestock and keep out neighbors.

Fields like these can be pictures of people with rocky soil souls. Such people are receptive to the Word and the Holy Spirit only in small pockets open to obedience or for short periods of time when the seeds spring up until the next life-storm or trial comes along and washes them away. Just like easily weathered limestone parent materials, the soil of their souls are not built on a foundation of solid rock faith but are littered with pieces of hard and stony truth leftover after life-changing events (see Matthew 7:24-27). Their lives might even be characterized as shiny or healthy in places rich with potential for growth as seen from a distance by those just driving by.

Rocky soil soul people yearn for purpose and planting with fullness of harvest and are encouraged by the glimpses of bright seeds popping up in little places.  However, they often don’t realize that they are slaves to self and thus, can’t see the need for the hard work of submitting to the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives to make the soil of their souls ready for planting. They fail to see the necessity of going through the soil of their soul and pulling out those pebbles of pride, boulders of busyness, and stones of selfishness which easily bend or break the plow-blade of Scripture’s conviction on their souls (see Hebrews 4:16). They don’t realize the need for putting in strong well-defined border fences around their lives to keep in right choices and keep out neighboring temptation.

Farmers of rocky soils also know well that the digging up and hauling out of stones out of their fields isn’t just a one-time event. As soils weather or erode, more and more rocks of all sizes come to the surface. Similarly, more and more sins come to the surface of my life as Christ applies more of His living water to my life. I want to think that these stony sins are one-time events but in reality, they are just pieces broken off an underlying bedrock of pride that gets closer to the surface as more pain comes or trials persist. Only my Cornerstone Christ is able to take the stones out of my life and make good ground from the dust that remains (see Psalm 103:14). Only He is strong enough for making good ground of the soil of my soul with its demands of constant monitoring, stony sin removal, and rebuilding of the walls for the protection of that which He created for His glory and the good of His people. Only He can unearth those long-buried memorial stones from past Jordan Rivers of God’s deliverance and use them to remind me of His faithfulness and provision even if it seems my world is being eroded away (see Joshua 4).

Thanks be to God, He can He do all that is needed for making the soil of my soul to be good soil for His purposes. And He will do the work, if I let Him. Thank You, God, that You don’t just promise good, You make good on every promise You make! Promise-Keeper, please do Your good work even now in the soil of my soul for Your glory and the good of Your people…

For more on this modern parable, read Matthew chapter 13 where Jesus tells the story of the seed, soil, and sower. Trust me, no one can tell a story like He can! And the truth and love sown throughout His stories can enrich the soil of a soul far better than anything else…

Stay tuned for one more excerpt from Good Ground, Volume 2 next week…then stay tuned for obtaining the entire book of Good Ground, Volume 2 coming very soon! You will be able to purchase it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online book distributors. And if you haven’t already purchased Good Ground, Volume 1, you can get it now also at the places listed above.

As always, thank you for reading, listening, commenting, encouraging, and praying! Thank you also for sharing this post and blog with others who might be encouraged by what you’ve seen here too.

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written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022

Published by Beth Madison

author, speaker, learner

3 thoughts on “More on the modern parable

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