And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. — Mark 4:1-20
The parable of the Sower and the Seed compares the hearts of those who hear the Word with four different terrains: a path, rocky ground, thorny ground, and rich soil.
As a child, I would often picture the Sower walking along, haphazardly tossing seeds across these various terrains. But after years of fiscal accountability, I now understand just how irresponsible of an act that would be. So we can safely assume that the Sower took great care to ensure that the majority of the seed cast fell upon the rich soil. And just as important as carefully choosing the terrain, the Sower no doubt expended plenty of effort to prepare that soil; making it ready for planting.
As leaders, we too are responsible for assessing the condition of our environments, then effectively nurturing them to allow our vision to take root within the hearts and minds of our teams. But instead of physically manipulating our environments, we must rely on our interpersonal skills. Skills such as the ability to communicate openly, to build professional relationships, and to demonstrate sound judgement. These key interpersonal skills, when effectively exercised, will help convince our teams of our sincerity in developing an environment capable of sustained success. The resulting confidence and trust will then allow our vision to take root.
Yet our effort must not end there. We must continually weed the garden through the consistent exercise of those interpersonal skills. For just as the Sower’s fields faced the threats of drought, infestation and pilferage, our environments are challenged by negative attitudes, inadequate job performance and poorly communicated standards. These are the rocks and thorns that will prevent our vision from taking root.
So with Spring right around the corner, why not take some time to get into your professional garden and assess the quality of its soil.