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Soil Analysis

March 23rd, 2010

“A farmer went out to plant some seed.” Luke 8:5 NLT

“Life is about contributing in a way that honors God, benefits others, and satisfies you.”

My thoughts today are about “soil analysis.”

How simply Jesus’ story begins. An honest man doing an honest day’s work, and expecting good results for his labor. Read Luke 8:4-15. But he did not get what he thought he would. There were significantly mixed results for his efforts. That could describe a lot of people, I would guess. Life does not always give you what you expect, or deserve. He expected to enjoy the principle that “whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV. And that’s exactly what he should have experienced, except for something he did not consider.

There are other factors involved besides what you do. Jesus’ story is not about the farmer, nor about his diligent planting of seed. The central factor in the story is all about the crucial variations in the soil and the marginal results because of those. Some seed fell upon unprepared soil; some seed fell upon shallow soil; some seed fell upon thorny ground. The ground onto which the seed fell determined the effectiveness of the farmer’s efforts and the measure of the seed’s profitability.

Life is a lot like that. You can work really hard and not get properly rewarded as much as should have been possible. Sometimes life is not about working harder; it is more about working smarter – putting your efforts where they are most useful and therefore more fruitful – working at what you do best and doing that where you can be most effective.

There are two kinds of things in which people engage themselves. There are some things you do well and some things you enjoy doing. Life is wonderful if and when those two things are the same. That makes for a happy camper, and produces a most successful and satisfying life. If you do only the things you enjoy without learning to do them well, you might be satisfied but not necessarily successful. If you do only the things you do well without learning to enjoy them, you may be successful but not automatically satisfied. You can have the joy of being both.

Life is about finding where to sow yourself, making sure your heart is where you invest your best energy and efforts. The reality is that you will not have equal success every place you sow. And remember, success is about much more than the amount on your paycheck; life is about contributing in a way that honors God, benefits others, and satisfies you. Read Galatians 6:7-10.

It is a good practice to take time regularly to do a proper soil analysis of your soul; prayerfully examine if what you are doing and where you are doing that are bringing the results for which you hoped. The Bible advises you this way, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV. Honestly examine your heart in the light of God’s Word and will. You might be surprised by what you find.

My prayer for you today is for your life to be one good harvest after another.

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