Jesus says to us in the parable of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13, be “good soil.” In other words, be dirt, be good at being dirt. Elsewhere in Matthew Jesus calls us the “salt of the earth,” and “light of the world.” But dirt?
Well, we are made from dirt and if things were not interrupted by padded and sealed caskets and concrete in-ground boxes, we would return to being dirt.
However, if I recall my growing up days on the farm, dirt takes some preparation before being ready to receive the seed. A coating of cow manure was spread over the top. Then the dirt was plowed, and smoothed with a “drag.” After that, the farmer drove a tractor over the soil once again pulling a corn planter or grain drill filled with seed.
Notice the words used in getting the dirt ready to produce a bountiful crop. Cow manure spread; plowed, dragged, drilled. When Jesus says, “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands.”
The things in our lives which disturb us, the things which drag us down, the feeling that life is plowing us under and driving over us as it goes on its way, are preparing us to receive the word of God. Martin Luther would often talked in such a way. For then we have nowhere to turn but to God who sows in us the seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who suffered for our setbacks and died that he might save us from eternally being under the plow.
Then having received the word God sends the Holy Spirit to help it sprout and grow in our lives and finally as we gain maturity in the faith, we produce a life that worships God and serves others in love, joy, peace and kindness.
Be dirt. Be good dirt. Be deep dirt.