Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Have you ever tried to grow your own food? This is not for the faint
of heart or for those whose thumbs (like mine) are less than green. I
remember my first tomato plant. One tomato was all we harvested.
One sad, not-so-great-tasting tomato. Soil management was the
problem: not enough water, then too much water, not deep enough,
no fertilizer. Get the soil right and a tomato bounty will follow.
Soil is incredible. We wouldn’t have trees, plants, or fruits and vegetables of any kind without it. It’s not just the mere existence of soil that makes all this life-sustaining vegetation spring forth. It is the right amount and quality of it that matters, its moisture content and pH levels and so forth. There’s a lot to soil and to what it does. In The Hidden Lives of Trees, Peter Wohlleben tells us that a single handful of forest soil contains more lifeforms than there are people on the planet. Imagine that.
Today’s parable shows that what’s true for plants is true for us in many ways. The healthier the soil, the richer our life in Christ will be. In order to grow we need to immerse ourselves in a healthy, fertile environment. For us to thrive and bear the fruit God intends, we need the life-giving nutrients that God provides: those around us who share God’s goodness; the presence of the Spirit; devotion to God through scripture, prayer, and worship. The more time we spend in rich soil like this, the more we absorb the life-giving understanding of God’s word and God’s love. A single life grounded in Christ holds more abundance than we can imagine.
What places and spaces deepen your sense of God’s presence? Who are the people that help you grow? What can you do today to nurture the “nutrients” in your life that draw you nearer to God’s presence?
Creator God, for the life you’ve given me and sustain in me, I give you thanks. Help me to feel your presence today, that I may absorb your love and share it with others. Amen.