Our back yard is half lawn and half woods. My intention is to plant a little garden this summer but the only place to do that is where there are now woods. In that area there are small, wild trees that have grown up, weeds, bushes, poison ivy, thorns and briars and underneath it all, quite possible a copperhead snake or two! Yet something beakons me to clear an area, work the soil until something useful will grow.Â It would be easier and perhaps make more sense to just find some good soil somewhere to try to plant my garden but something still draws me to the thorny areas.
Jesus talks about different types of “soil” in people’s lives in Luke 8. He mentions open, well trodden paths, rocky soil, areas where there are lots of thorns and good soil. Seed grows easily in the good soil – not so in the other areas. Jesus said the seed grows easily in the furtile soil but never said we should not also focus on the other – it is just harder, requires more effort, patience and care. The thorny soil, he said, involves life’s worries and caresÂ and even seemingly good things like riches and pleasures. In our mission here in the Corzet/Charlottesville area we have met a lot of people living among the thorns; some with extremely challenging circumstances in their lives. Some just busy – very busy- living; Â work, kids, school, sports and more. Our mission is to help to prepare the soil in their lives so they will be open to starting or re-starting a relationship with Christ. Here there is a lot of preparatory work to do and the harvest seems further away. But these are the kind of people Jesus ministered to as well – the sick, lame, blind, oppressed, down-trodden and the wealthy as well – tax collecters, military commandersÂ and more. Thorny ground – it’s a mission field worth persuing. We must never give up because the ground is difficult!