“I grew up on a farm,” Stan said. “My dad grew wheat, barley, and oats. He was a good farmer.”
“I don’t know much about farming,” I said. “I grew up in a city.”
“Farming can be a tough way to make a living, especially the way my dad did it.”
“How so?” I asked.
“He was a dry-land farmer, which means there was no irrigation. All of the needed moisture had to come from the sky.”
“Some years there was plenty of moisture and the crops were good, but that was not always the case.”
Stan continued, “But regardless of the moisture, the ground had to be cultivated every year. The soil had to be prepared for the seeds to be planted. That meant plowing and breaking up the hard soil so the planted seeds could sprout and grow.”
“Were there times when the seeds didn’t produce anything?’ I asked.
“Not too often because, as I said, my dad was a good farmer. But there were farmers around who did not do what was required to produce a good crop. What their farms yielded was often less than my dad’s.”
Stan continued, “There is a lot of similarity between being a good farmer and being a maturing Christian!”
“In what way?” I responded.
“We all have hard hearts. That is part of the natural human condition. But it doesn’t have to be that way.”
“We can cultivate the hardness of our hearts so that we are receptive to the seeds God wants to plant and to nurture.”
“So,” I responded with a question, “it is possible to produce no crop, a little crop, or an abundant crop. Is that the point?”
“Exactly,” said Stan. “How a person cultivates determines what and how much is produced in his or her life.”
Continuing, Stan said, “If I cultivate with knowing God’s word and listening to His voice, the soil will be prepared properly. If I don’t, it won’t.”
“It is all a matter of getting self out of the way so that what God wants will be planted, will sprout, will grow, and will produce an abundant harvest.”
“This seems like a really big subject,” I responded.
“It is at the heart of true Christian living,” Stan said. “Yes, it is a big subject. Jesus addressed it over and over with different parables. You and I will spend a lot more time talking about this, but for the moment get the picture clear in you mind.”
“What picture is that?”
“We all have hearts that are hard and need to be cultivated to break up that hardness. Cultivate that hard soil with the proper tools that God has made available.”
Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accord with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12
Prayer: Lord, you know the hardness of my heart apart from you. You have provided all I need to break up that hardness so you can plant, grow, and reap all you want in and through me. I submit to all of your provision. Please, Lord, break up that hard soil, plant your seeds, and cause them to grow exactly as you want. Amen.