Scripture: Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:4-15
- Students will review the Parable of the Sower and how it relates to our hearts receiving God’s word.
- Students will learn the basics of preparing good soil for planting in order to build background knowledge to understand the story.
- Students will learn about plants that would be used in a Bible garden.
- How can the condition of our heart be like good soil for receiving God’s word?
- What types of soil is good for planting?
- What types of useful plants were common in Jesus’ time?
Materials: soil plots for plants, shovel, plants that can be used in a Bible garden (examples: onions, leeks, aloe, garlic, acanthus/nettles, chamomile, chickpea, melons, parsley, mint, lentils, cucumbers, cumin, fig tree, lettuce, apple, Judean sage, grape arbor), possible arbors, trellis, Note: Ideally a Bible Garden contains the seven plants in Deuteronomy 8:8.
Procedure: Review the Parable of the Sower focusing on the different types of soil that were used and how each one represents the state of our hearts when we hear God’s word. Create a Bible garden with the students. Discuss the conditions that the plants will need to grow. Show students the soil and land plot that has been chosen. Discuss what makes the soil good and relate it to the conditions in the parable. You may show students a nearby path, rocky soil, and fertile soil and have them retell the parable using these sites. Show students how to till the ground. Explain what to look for in good soil such as dark, loose texture. Tell them other tips such as using worms and ladybugs. Let students try hoeing the soil. Then students plant seeds. Be sure to research which types of plants do best in your area. Take into consideration which plants do well together, sunlight and water requirements. Depending on the plants that you have chosen, explain to students the usefulness of the plants. Discuss how they were used in Jesus’ time and today. After planting, walk through the garden contemplating the plants’ significance. If possible, include benches and chairs for visitors to rest and meditate. Consider including an altar of piled stones to use as garden art. This is a memorial for Christ’s sacrifice for us.
- How are the uses of these plants today the same as how Jesus’ disciples would have used them? How are they different?
- Why do you think Jesus often use gardens and farmers as the basis for his parables?
- Which type of soil do you relate to the most?
- What can you do to have a heart like the fertile soil?
- How can our garden serve the community and what can we do with our plants when they are ripe?
Supplemental Activity: Students can create plaques to explain the significance of the plants and their relation to the Bible so that visitors can learn about them. Another option is for students to create a flyer retelling the parable and explaining the garden. These can be kept in a weatherproof box for visitors to take and enjoy.