This week, I’m honored to introduce my writing pal, Mrs. Carla G. Pollard to each of you. One of my greatest discoveries since launching into this calling to be a Christian writer has been the many friends, mentors, and teachers God has blessed me with. A few, like Ms. Carla, are ones who make me think, I want to be like them. From her effusive smile to her grace-filled lessons of faith, Ms. Carla encourages, supports, and helps all she engages with. Please welcome my friend, Mrs. Carla Pollard to the Cross-Dubya this week.
Prepared Hearts Equal Healthy Growth
We have a farmer who farms across the road from our subdivision. Every year we look forward to the bounty from his labors. He yields some of the best tomatoes you will ever eat. Jesus taught many parables about seed time and harvest. There is much we can learn from the process. Over the years, I’ve watched as farmers begin to work their fields.
Because the ground is hardened after remaining dormant during the winter months, the farmer guides his tiller back and forth over the earth, breaking it up and turning it over and over. He takes great care in preparing the soil. Healthy soil creates the perfect environment for germination, which results in healthy plants. Healthy plants yield a bountiful and healthy harvest.
As the farmer turns the ground over, he uncovers stones, old roots, sticks, and other debris which must be removed. He works to loosen the soil. Dark earth filled with nutrients is turned up and he mixes it with the topsoil. The garden takes on a soft and rich appearance.
After the farmer has cleared out the debris and loosened the dirt, He begins to hoe the rows, digging deep into the ground, making it ready for seed. He labors long and hard during the preparation process. The farmer wants to plant before the summer rains begin to fall.
God wants to yield a harvest in our hearts. He, like the farmer, takes great care in preparing us for His purposes. Sometimes, He turns our hearts over and over so that He can reveal hidden debris that doesn’t belong. It can be a tough process when the ground of our hearts is broken, but it’s worth the heartache when God’s fruit is revealed in us.
In Matthew 13:1-23 and Luke 8:11-15, Jesus is teaching about a farmer who went out to plant (sow) his seed. As he moves along, throwing out the seed, some of it fell along the path, some on the rocks, some among the thorns, and some on good ground. As he continues to spread the seed, something begins to happen. The seed that fell along the path is eaten by birds. The seed that fell in the rocky places springs up but dies because the ground was shallow, and the roots couldn’t grow. The seed that fell among the weeds is overtaken and choked out by the roots of the unwanted wild plants.
But the seed that fell on the soil which Jesus described as “good ground,” found a place to grow and flourish. That seed produced a bountiful harvest for the farmer.
Jesus’ disciples asked Him about His teaching methods. “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” (Mat. 13:10). Jesus explains that there is a difference between the crowds that come out to listen to Him and the disciples (students) who stay close and follow Him. The difference lies in their hunger for more of God and their quest for a deeper understanding of spiritual truths.
Apart from the crowds, Jesus unfolds the meaning of the farmer and his seed to the disciples. The seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). The ground is our heart (Luke 8:15). The different types of ground Jesus mentions describe our hearts at one time or another. They can be hard, filled with stones because of our past, or burdened with problems. We’ve all faced times like these.
As believers who are ready to cultivate new Christian growth, let’s lay the groundwork by preparing our hearts to receive God’s word so that His word can germinate, grow, and flourish in our lives.We are transformed into the person God created us to be as we allow His Word to change us, cleanse us, and teach us. Click To Tweet
His desire is to make us Christ-like so that we can bear the image of Jesus to the world. When we receive and apply God’s word, it helps to accomplish this change in our lives.
Take a moment now and picture yourself walking through a beautiful, lush garden of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Imagine the colors, shapes, and fragrances as you stroll the cobblestone path winding its way through the well-designed garden. As you walk through the garden, you see all the luscious fruits and vegetables ripening on the vine. You see the variety, the designs, and the vibrant colors. You can enjoy the aesthetic effect and even smell their fragrance permeating the air. But your body is not experiencing the full benefits of all the nutrients found growing in that garden. This is like the soul who is going to church but not reading the Bible.
Bible study is to our souls like eating a grape is to our bodies. We reach out and pull a ripened grape from the vine, toss it into our mouths, chew on it, savor it, and swallow it. It is then that we absorb all the nutrients. It is then we are refreshed and renewed.
Every now and again, Father reminds me to plow up the ground of my heart. When I do, He takes His Word and reveals to me the rocks, sticks, and debris that keep me from receiving the full benefits of His blessings in my life. Through His Spirit and His care, I can clear out my heart, receive new seed from His Word, and begin the process again of growing a fruitful life.
Carla G. Pollard
Carla G. Pollard is a pastor, author, and teacher. She loves people and desires to see them reach their full potential through a vibrant relationship with Jesus. She is active in her community and is a shoulder-to-shoulder leader who ministers to the homeless, the imprisoned, the abused, the elderly, and infirmed. Her works have appeared in Prayer Connect, CBN Online Devotions, P31 Woman, Power for Living, The Bible Advocate and Together with God. She is a contributing author in Unimaginable: Finding Love through Pain and Sustaining Life’s Victories (currently in editing). Her inspiring messages resonate strength and happiness birthed through pain and sorrow. Carla’s motto is: Be faithful to Jesus; He’s faithful to you.