There is a story of an old farmer who wanted to plough his field to grow crops, his son who would have helped him was in jail. So, he wrote to his son to lament: I am helpless this year because you are not here to plough the field, so I can’t grow any crops.
A couple of days later, the old farmer was surprised to receive a post-card from his son and it read: Papa, please don’t dig the field. I have buried my weapons there. Then the next morning, a group of policemen came along with tractors and dug up the whole field but no weapons were found. The old farmer was confused and wrote back to his son and told him what had happened.
A couple of days later, he got a reply from his son: Papa, now you can go ahead to plant your crops. This sounds like an incredible story. Yet as much as it sounds incredible, there is an underlying truth in it.
And the truth is that words have the power to work wonders. And if they from God himself???
Prophet Isaiah uses figurative language to emphasize on the fulfillment of the word of God in the life of Israelites. Just as the rain and snow that come down from the heavens do not return before having watered the earth and making it fertile and fruitful.
The Word of God is like the rain. Without it nothing grows. But for a harvest it must fall on land ready to receive it. Let any amount of rain fall on rock. Nothing ever grows. Wild growth comes in barren land but harvests only come from tilled soil. The Word needs a heart to receive it. “Oh, that today you would listen to his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Psalm 95)
Jesus, in the gospel reading, tells the parable of the sower. The sower in the parable goes out to sow seeds. The seeds fall on different types of soil, the pathway soil, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, and the good soil. Each of these types of soil is said to represent a certain type of heart with which hearers receive the word of God.
The question each of us must ask ourselves today is, “What type of soil for the word of God do I represent? Am I like the pathway where the seed cannot even sprout, or like the rocky ground where the seed sprouts but has no roots, or like thorny ground where the word of God is choked to death by worldly cares, or like the good soil that bears much fruit? Comparing our different dispositions to different types of soil has one crucial limitation. Soil cannot help being what it is. We can. And so, the question that follows is: “How can I improve the disposition of my heart so that the word of God can bear fruit in my life or bear fruit more abundantly?
The more positively we listen to the Word of God reflecting on it in our hearts in prayer the more our heart is prepared to produce the harvest. The world is as it is, but we are responsible for ‘the soil of our hearts’. We can become the good soil, which produces a harvest.
However, when God speaks his creative Word nothing can resist it. Dead and barren land becomes rich and fertile. God speaks through his prophets. We never know when he will fire the arrow that will change our lives. “Dry bones, hear the Word of God: I am going to make breath enter you and you will live… they came to life and stood on their feet an immense army.” (Ezek 37: 3ff)
Do you cultivate your heart by sitting in the presence of God and longing to hear his creative Word? Do you want him to produce a harvest in you?