Friday, August 22, 2008

Am I the Soil or the Seed?

Last night I attened a missionary lesson whereThe investigator shared with us an audio tape recording of man, I beleive a spiritual writer (non-LDS) speaking of the inherent potential of the seed, how it is what it is and does not aspire to be anything as it follows the path programmed into it. The investigator likened himself to the seed. He was therefore on a path that he would follow but not aspiring to reach the potential he had because it was inherent within him and that it would happen without his desiring or working for it to be so.

The missionaries then referred to the parable of the seed in Matthew 13 saying that if this man was the seed, that based on his actions and experiences that he could fall into ground that would either support his growth and learning or impede it. Since, as humans, we are not seeds but have our agency to choose for ourselves, we can decide where we will cast our seed, whether into dry stony ground where we will not grow or into rich verdant soil where we are able to meet our full potential.

The parable is as follows:
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and abrought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

My visiting teacher accompanied me and the missionaries to this meeting. She said something that got me thinking. She had once been taught that maybe it is not the parable of the seed, but rather the parable of the soil.

For me it helps to break it down by the symbols. To me, and in the context of our conversation, the symbols are as follows:
The sower: God
The seed: the word of God
The soil/sediment: our choices regarding how we nurture the word of God

As described above it could be interpreted differently where we are the seed, and the soil are the surroundings we choose to place ourselves in. Both interpretations provide useful spiritual lessons.

The lesson I got last night was that the word of God is what it is and will not change. It has the same potential for every person on this earth to change and lift their consciousness to be more perfect and like God. To me, that makes the word of God the seed. Whenever the word of God is shared or learned by another, it has same the potential to change the person's life with a knowledge of God's eternal plan for all earthly life.

Despite that the gospel has the same potential, it does not and will not always have the same likelihood of taking root and growing up within a person. Individuals, based on their thoughts, actions and words create the climate wherein that seed will attempt to grow. The hope is that all who hear will strive to be the good soil where the word of God will be nourished so it can grow and take root in that person's heart. But often a person's heart will be more like the stony ground where the seed will not be able to take dig deep root, or the thorny ground where the word will be choked out of that person's consciousness.

A person like unto the stony ground may not be interested in hearing the word taught to them, or may not want to be obligated to making the changes in his/her life that the gospel would necessitate. This is the person who does not want to know whether it is true or not for whatever reason.

A person who would be found in the thorny ground may be willing and interested in hearing the gospel preached to them, but other ideas, thoughts, activities may take their attention away from the learning process. It could be involvement in political, professional, social or religious organziations that keep a person too busy to nourish the word of God within their heart. They may be distracted by the world's meaningless activities or by the endless blare of the media.

As the only member in my family and the first in my group of friends to join the church, as well as being a ward missionary, I see that the majority of people who have the opportunity to learn of the gospel fall into the category of stony or thorny ground, while it is the minority who choose to provide the rich soil of their hearts for the nourishing of the word of God. I pray that more people in our country, society and world will be willing to nourish the word of God when it reaches their ears, that their hearts will be desirous to learn of it and experiment upon like Alma urges in the Book of Mormon.

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