Gardening Tips: Tilling The Soil


Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. – Matthew 13:5-6

There is not much that I have eaten in this world the matches a tomato fresh from the vine.  Rich, sweet and tangy, tomatoes have a unique and satisfying flavor.  They are a reward for the hard work.  Growing tomatoes has a different flavor – tough, sour and dirty.  One of the difficulties we have faced growing tomatoes in our neck of the woods is the heat.  This has been a mild summer for us with only a few days reaching over 100 degrees, but it is normal for us to go a week or two of triple digits.  This is not good on tomatoes.

In the parable, the seeds are on rocky soil, but the real issue is that they can’t sink their roots deep enough to get to the water.  There are a lot of variations that can put a tomato plant at risk, but one of the most important is the moisture level in the soil.  No moisture = scorched and shriveled plants.  I wonder if the parable of the seeds is about the importance of discipleship.  I know that raising tomatoes takes a lot of intentional, purposeful and consistent work.  You can’t just drop some seeds on the ground and check in a few weeks later.

Evangelism is a beginning, but is certainly not the end.  In growing tomatoes, as much work goes into preparing the soil as tending the plant once it has sprouted.  The soil has to be the right mix, with nutrients, density and absorbency all coming into play.  If you aren’t going to prep the soil, you can’t expect the right results.  Maybe we need to spend more time preparing the soil than just scattering seed.  Maybe we need to invest intentionally, purposefully and consistently in the lives of those around us who need the Word of God.  Maybe love and grace will change their hearts from jagged rocks to fertile ground.

Lord, help me to be a tiller of soil in the hearts of those you bring my way.  Give me the words to
speak into their lives that will prepare their hearts for Your Word.  May I have a passion for evangelism and a will toward discipleship.  Amen.

4 responses to “Gardening Tips: Tilling The Soil”

  1. Thank you, Chris, I appreciate so much, the way you use daily life experiences to help us see God. You discovered and bring to light something very important here . . . something for us to ask Him about personally. Are we to be the ones scattering seeds or the one tilling the soil . . .or both?
    God bless you and yours!

  2. Chris,

    Really enjoy your thoughtful posts. Love how you relate your experiences to the scriptures. I think “intentional” is the key. Because it implies purpose and understanding. “One size fits all” kind of gardening doesn’t work with plants or people. Knowing your “plant,” and understanding it’s needs is what leads to success.

    Growing tomatoes requires an understanding of what a tomato needs. Potatoes need the same basics; good soil, sun, water and a weed free environment. However, you have to be sure the little potatoes always stay underground, covered with dirt, so they don’t turn green.

    I think you have to get to know the people you are establishing a connection with and as you say that requires “investing intentionally, purposefully and consistently in the lives of those around us who need the Word of God.”

    Good job!

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