When I was a senior in high school I had lunch before yearbook class. I loved yearbook but I found it difficult to pay attention if I’d had too much to eat. I would often bring a lunch from home, buy some food at school, eat leftover doughnuts that my friends didn’t want and top it off with half of a burrito. I often walked into yearbook like I had just finished Thanksgiving dinner. No matter how much I wanted to pay attention on those afternoons, no matter how great the task at hand, I couldn’t focus.
Sometimes we have the same problem with Jesus. He is the greatest teacher in history yet we can’t pay attention.
I love the New Year, not just for nerdy resolutions, but because it really does give us an arbitrary reason for a new start. If we really want a new start, though, we don’t need to go to the gym or start a new diet. A new life and actual change only comes through Jesus Christ. If we want to experience that change, though, we have to be ready for it.
In the Parable of the Sower Jesus describes four types of people. There are those who refuse to even listen to what Jesus has to say. Those who respond to Jesus’s words but quickly forget about them. Those who hear Jesus’s words but can’t fully respond to them because of their sin. And those who hear Jesus’s words, respond to them and bear fruit for God’s kingdom.
If the soil of our lives looks like the first three, then we won’t be ready to hear what Jesus has to say. If we don’t care, if we’re too distracted or if we’re too trapped by our sin, then regardless of how great the teaching, our lives won’t be impacted.
If we really want to be different, if we really want to be transformed, if we really want a new us in 2015, then we need to till the soil of our hearts. We need to seek silence, solitude or any other discipline that will put us in a better place to hear Jesus and respond to him.
What helps you have good soil in your life?