The sub-title of this book – ‘Caring for the most important part of you’ – demonstrates the importance which Ortberg places on giving attention to the care of our souls.
Ortberg uses the parable of the sower to illustrate this. The seed is a picture of God’s desire and action to redeem our souls; the sower is a picture of God who generously scatters the seed everywhere; the soil is a picture of our souls.
Ortberg talks about the different kinds of soil. I don’t know about you, but I can identify with all three of them.
- The Hardened Soul: some seed feel on the hard path. These people may have been hurt or disappointed so they form a protective shell. ‘The world diverts my soul-attention when it encourages me to think of myself more as a victim than as a human…..underneath the hardness is often fear…it takes a little, just a tiny little bit of softness in the soil to give the seed a chance…the hardened soul is more vulnerable to being saved than it knows.’
- The Shallow Soul: some seed fell where there was only a thin layer of topsoil with solid rock underneath. ‘The world conspires against our souls, keeping our lives superficial…For much of our lives, we live in the shallows. Then something happens… and we get this glimpse of tremendous depth….It takes a little, such a tiny little depth in the soil to give the seed a chance. The shallow soul is closer to being saved than it knows.’
- The Cluttered Soul: some seed fell among thorns, which choked the plants. ‘Our world will divert your soul’s attention because it is a cluttered world…We mistake our clutter for life. If we cease to be busy, do we matter?….It takes a little, such a tiny little uncluttered space to give the seed some room to grow. The cluttered soul is closer to being saved than it knows.’
‘A soul can be saved. But it will take softness and depth and space.
The world won’t help much.’