We’ve known them exclusively as responses to the gospel. Ground and fruit. Soil and words.
Words can fall on many kinds of soil (or lack of soil). In Matthew 13, Jesus identifies four types of ground on which seeds can fall. By the way side refers to hard ground that prevents the seed from even taking roots. Birds swoop and eat the seeds before anything can happen. Stony ground provides a tiny bit of soil that actually allows the seeds to germinate and begin to grow, but because the roots cannot penetrate the stones to get into the earth they wither and die. The thorny ground allows the seed to grow, but the thorns choke the life out of the little plants. Finally, there is the good ground. The conditions for germination are rich and present, and a harvest is predicted. The seed grow into plants that produce much fruit.
Yet, is there a connection between sowing seeds of the gospel and sowing seeds through your blog, posts, tweets, website or writing?
Could the hard ground be the reader who hears about your work, does not understand the content but chooses to plaster 1-star reviews complete with atrocious and defamatory claims? Like Satan who plucks the message away from the could-be-believer, keeping the heart unenlightened and discouraging others who may benefit from your work?
What if the stony ground portrays the avid reader who delights in words, but she pledges no allegiance to your authorship and when negative remarks comes to the fore, her so-called love for your work rapidly evaporates?
The thorny ground may be the audience that receive your words, but whose minds are full of other distractions and pleasures. Not that they dislike your work, but their attention is elsewhere and thus have no time for your words.
The good ground depicts the one who buys, borrows, reads, receives and is affected positively by your words. Your writing changes his life and he is on a high with rave reviews and enthusiastic accolades. His words ringing out to the world bear much fruit – draw more readers, comments and 4-star and 5-star reviews. The reader described by the “good ground” is the only one of the four types who is truly supportive of your work, because as with the gospel, the proof is fruit.
In Matthew 13:9, Jesus remarks, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” A person’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart. A reader’s reception of your words is determined by the state of his heart. Your prayer can shape the heart. Be blessed today.
(On the first weekend of October, Susan Harris offered her latest inspirational book, Remarkably Ordinary: 20 Reflections on Living Intentionally Right Where You Are, free on Amazon. 871 copies were downloaded. That’s 871 seeds scattered all over the globe, which could make ordinary lives, extraordinary. She began to apply the concept of the grounds to her books and prayed that the readers would open the downloads and be drawn into the experiences, that they would find their own lives remarkable and that they would offer good reviews. It’s been one week since and she’s had 2 new reviews, both 5*****.
Would you pray with her that the messages for wholesome living find good soil? Would you apply the concept to your own writing?)
BIO: Susan Harris is a speaker and former teacher, and the author of Golden Apples in Silver Settings, Remarkably Ordinary, Little Copper Pennies and Little Copper Pennies for Kids. Her first submission to Chicken Soup for the Soul is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What? edition as Smokey’s Lockout, and was released August 19, 2014. Remarkably Ordinary will be released in print on November 1, 2014. Her upcoming children’s picture book, Alphabet on The Farm will be released in both English and French. Susan was born in exotic Trinidad but now lives on the Saskatchewan prairies with her husband, daughter and the gregarious cats.