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Devotional Thought: Stronger Than Dirt

A few years back I listened to a sermon on the parable of the Sower. It got me thinking about the word dirt. There was a commercial, years ago, about laundry soap being “Stronger than Dirt.” We are all familiar with the different meanings of dirt and dirty. I thought of terms like digging up dirt, a dirty trick, dirty dishes, talking dirty, and finally came to the different types of dirt as an allegory for the human heart. The Bible talks about dirt with rocks and thorns in it, and the good dirt where the seeds that God sows can grow. When we look on, sometimes with a faithless eye, none of the dirt looks too promising. It can be discouraging, when we try to sow the seed and nothing seems to happen. God taught me a lesson about that which I have never forgotten.

It was in the early 1970’s in California. We lived close to San Francisco and the Hippie movement was in full swing. I was a new Christian and my husband’s brother was a wild man. He did not like me and thought his little brother had gone off the deep end with religion. He and his wife ended up in church due to needs involving money. He told us later that he was planning to scam the Christian couple that had evangelized us.

The church folks were thrilled that this ragged, wild looking, hippie couple, had finally come to church. Larry decided to make a really big show for the church members, so he could get more out of them later. Going to the altar seemed like a good sympathy move, so when the pastor asked if anyone wanted to pray, he was the first one to go.

While kneeling, not so humbly, at the altar, he was thinking about how to steal a car from this couple. Then, something unexpected happened. Jesus came. He found himself crying and praying for real. Before he knew quite what had happened, he was praying in earnest and asking God to forgive him. Larry ended up living for God 100% for the rest of his life.

Larry was someone for whom I had zero faith. I did not believe that even God could help him, because his heart was so hard. I thought the soil of his heart was made of cement. The truth is that we can’t see what is really going on inside the hearts of others.

Good fruit and prepared dirt doesn’t happen accidentally. Someone has paid attention, weeded, watered, fertilized, and loved. In our pitiful little faith, we might think that some people are unreachable or that a problem is just too big. But God just keeps sowing, because His love and His mercy are “Stronger than Dirt!”

Dr. Sandra L. Palm
Director General Education Core Program
Nazarene Bible College

Filed Under: Blog Published: 08/13/2018

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