At the beginning of Matthew 13, we hear Jesus tell a story about a farmer sowing seed across many types of soil, and what became of that seed based on where it landed. Some seed fell on a path and was eaten by birds. Some fell on rocky ground where it sprouted quickly, then quickly withered. Some fell with thorny weeds and was choked out and other seeds landed among fertile soil and thrived. As was the case with many of the parables Jesus told, his meaning was not immediately clear to those around him, and he went on to explain what the story meant for his disciples (both then and now)…

The message of God's love for us and his son's sacrifice on the cross is like a seed from which the kingdom of God can grow, but not everyone receives that message the same way. Some of us are "hard listeners" who are unwilling to let God's message change us, and others are "shallow listeners" whose faith is rocked when trouble comes along. Still others of us have divided hearts, understanding the message but choosing to live how we want, not according to God's ways. Finally, some "get it" and when God's message takes root in the fertile soil of our hearts, we radiate his goodness not only on the inside, but to those around us too. The bottom line? If we're willing to let God transform our lives, there's no limit to what he can achieve.