Good dirt! That is all that is required of my heart. The parable of the sower has always presented some challenges to me. I got caught up in the idea that there were 4 types of people. Once a person fell into their slot, they were locked in.
Based on that hypothesis, a person (for all time) was either hard soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, or good soil. Once they made their choice, they were done. While there is some merit to this idea, the tricky part came in deciding which of the soils represented true believers and which represented those who rejected the Gospel. Hard soil - pagan, thorny soil - carnal Christian, good soil - blessed believer. Then, what about the rocky soil? Jesus said 'this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy'. Is that a person who receives salvation but loses it because they don't have a proper foundation, or in this case, a proper base of soil?
That is not a very satisfying idea and inconsistent with God's word about the Holy Spirit being a believer's seal of salvation.
So, I have to focus on the heart. And, on the present condition of the soil of my heart for receiving a word from the sower, Jesus.
Recall in Matthew 13:19, Jesus says "When anyone hears the word about the kingdom" and later in the same verse he says "...what was sown in his heart." All scripture is word about the kingdom including the story of salvation. Jesus is clearly stating this parable is a message for the heart. And, are our hearts prepared as good soil to receive that message? Can the hard soil of our heart be cultivated to yield a bountiful crop? Can our good soil be burdened by rocks of neglect or thorny weeds of materialism, causing our crop to suffer?
I know a young man that for some time had a heart that was a rocky road. He claimed to be an atheist. He spent some time at church, around believers: cultivation of his heart soil occurred. At camp, he gave his life earnestly to Christ. But between one camp to the next, his heart became rocky through neglect of God's word and fellowship. He still believed, but was failing to thrive. I pray for him regularly that his roots will be established and he will become the productive soil that the sower desired when He cast the seed.
Those of us who may feel we are good soil, but recognize that we have not produced as Jesus described, need to understand that even committed believers experience times when we reject God's Word in our lives. In those times, Satan plucks away what God is telling us, where He is leading us. There are also times when we are rocky soil. We will go to a conference or listen to a sermon, but then because we don't go deeper, that word is lost to us. Certainly, none of us would deny the inescapable weeds of life and materialism that distract and choke out the joy of our salvation.
My encouragement is not to read Matthew 13 and be content that you are a believer so you must be in the fourth group. Rather, let's ask ourselves what the condition of our heart soil is today.
But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. Matthew 13:16 (NASB)