Preparing the Soil

Good afternoon from Nicaragua!

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been discussing the importance and completing the process of soil preparation in agriculture class.  You can certainly just plant seeds in the ground and hope for the best, but in order to ensure you grow healthy plants that produce fruit, it is necessary to prepare the soil.  This process involves a few steps including nutrient enrichment, fertilization, tilling, and watering.  Additionally, at times it is necessary to remove certain items from the soil that might impede growth such as rocks and inorganic materials.  In addition to the soil preparation itself, it is important to note where this step falls in the overall planting process.  While it is an ongoing activity, the most time to prepare the soil is before planting.  In order for a seed to become the plant that produces the fruit you hope to harvest, it must be sown in soil that is well prepared.  As I discussed with the teenagers in El Canyon on Monday night, this is true in our lives as well.

In Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 9, Jesus says, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home” (Matthew 9:5-6, NIV 1984).  In this passage Jesus does two things – he forgives a man’s sins and heals a physical aliment.  In other words, he deals with the “sickness” going on in his heart and then addresses his physical needs.  What I find very interesting about this passage are Jesus’ words, “Which is easier to say…”  Obviously, the healing of both of these issues is important, but you get the sense from Jesus’ words that, in the long term, the one is somewhat useless without the other.  Jesus tells them it is the heart that really needs healing if the paralyzed man is truly going to move forward.  In other words, the heart needs to be right in order to grow into the person God created us to be.

So what does this have to do with soil preparation?  I believe the heart is where the “soil preparation” happens in our lives.  As with the paralyzed man, I believe we first need our hearts to be healed.  I believe that begins with being healed from the problem of sin through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  After we are in a right relationship with God, I believe he can begin to heal parts of our hearts that have been damaged by events in our pasts, both those we have done to ourselves and those done to us by others.  Certainly, I believe other people play an important part in this as well, but as a told the young people on Monday night, some wounds can only be healed by the power of God.  I believe He is just waiting for us to ask for His healing touch.  This is the “removal of harmful items” part of the preparation process for our hearts.  The second piece is the enrichment process.  Just like soil, this is accomplished by those things that are necessary to grow.  I believe having Christ in our hearts is also the most important part of this phase as no can better tell us who we were created to be than the one who created us.  There are a number of other ways to enrich our hearts such as reading God’s word, being encouraged by others, praying, serving, and many more.  Just as in growing plants, the soil, or heart, preparation process is vital to our growth.

Once the soil is properly prepared, the plants are in the best position to achieve their potential.  This is true in our lives as well.  With well-prepared hearts, we are in a position to reach our God-given potential.  When we plant the right seeds into this type of soil, the harvest we receive could quite possibly be more than we could ever imagine.  Happy preparing.

– James Belt

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