“But the seed sown on good soil is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and produces a crop—a hundredfold, sixtyfold, or thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:23)

Jesus told a story using four types of soil to illustrate different responses to God (see Matthew 13:3-8,18-23). A farmer scatters seed. Some of it falls on the road and is eaten by birds. Some fall on rocky soil. It sprouts up quickly but wilts in the hot sun because it doesn’t have a good root system. Other seed falls among weeds and is choked out as it grows, but the last grains of seed fall on fertile soil where they grow, mature, and multiply tremendously.

In every church, we see these four responses to Jesus Christ. Some people hear God’s truth, however, it doesn’t seem to make the slightest dent. Others receive it gladly, but when difficulties surface, their joy quickly fades into despair. Many others grow for a while, then worries erode their faith, and competing attractions of pleasure and possessions steal their hearts. But a few resist these temptations, grow strong in their faith and touch the lives of tens or hundreds of others. Those whom God uses to mend broken families and guide wayward lives say there’s nothing so thrilling or fulfilling in the world.

Each of us has the opportunity to choose the type of soil we want to be in. Jesus’ story explains the options, but He leaves the decision up to us.