What will our soil tests reveal?
3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” 9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Believers generally refer to the parable above as the “Parable of the Sower,” but as Jim Powell notes in his book, Dirt Matters, the parable is really about the SOIL.
Potato Fields in Presque Isle, Maine
Along our journey we lived in Presque Isle, Maine. If you’ve been that far north, you might have seen thousands of sprawling acres of potato fields.
Things have changed. Although there are still potato fields a-plenty, the agriculture is more diverse. Why? Years ago there was an attempt to diversify and grow sugar beets to process them for sugar. Investors even built a processing plant. The investors found that the plan would not work, because the soil was not deep enough to support the growth of sugar beets. Necessity is the mother of invention, so the farmers hired experts to conduct soil tests. They discovered that soil that wouldn’t support the growth for sugar beets was ideal for profitably growing broccoli. Now, atop the Crown of Maine, you’ll see bright green, productive fields yielding some of the best broccoli in the world.
What This Means for Us at Hilton Avenue Community Church
Hilton Avenue Community is a new church plant. We are working through the process of understanding just what kind of soil we are. What does Jesus have in mind for us, and what kind of spiritual harvest are we best suited to grow? For now, our focus is on the condition and receptivity of our hearts–the soil–just like the parable.
It may surprise you to discover that God’s Word gives us instances where Christ moves among his churches, evaluating and analyzing the condition of their soil/hearts (see Revelation 2, 3). His words give detailed understanding of what He sees in the uniqueness of individual churches. He conducts his “soil tests” and tells each church exactly where the good soil is and how to repair and cultivate the poor soil.
Like those churches, at Hilton Ave Community Church we want to learn how Christ will enrich the condition of our hearts to see His maximum yield.