The past little while I have just been ramblin’ about in the scriptures and not struggling, but trying to find the words that seem to elude me in my head. I know that probably sounds weird. About now you probably think I am headed to the edge of the cliff, but I am fine. There is just a word puzzle in my head that I am trying to figure out.
As I write this down this morning things do seem to come together better, but it is times like this that I miss my bike. That was one of my best places to pray. The low rumble of the big twin motor and the peace of a nearly empty little country road just made for good prayer time. I could soak in God’s creation with the wind in my face. I do miss that, but God provides new when the old passes away.
Well, this morning I began thinkin’ about so many things the puzzle was hard to figure out, but then the Holy Spirit reminded me of the parable of the sower of seed.
The Parable of the Sower
I went to Matthew 13 and read the chapter and settled on the explanation that Jesus gave the disciples of the parable.
Matthew 13:18-23 (ESV)
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
I read that parable, and the puzzle started to come together for me. See my heart aches for those that don’t seem to get it. Those that are lost probably look at me like I have three eyes, but I pray that the veil would be lifted so that they could see.
Likewise, I pray for those that get fired up by a sermon or a series of sermons and commit but then seem to disappear. Or those people that seem to get it but hold on to the worries of the world and do not trust God with them and get swallowed up in the thorns.
Then Jesus talks about those that are fertile ground, and that message is wonderful to hear. But like all fertile ground, it needs tending.
Tending Fertile Soil
As I pondered this parable, I started thinking of the field or garden where you sow the seed. It was fertile soil. Fertile soil needs tending seeds need the nourishment that comes from that fertile soil. If it is not tended over time, it degrades, and if let to go to long it will become like the hard soil or the weedy and thorn-filled soil.
Again, this soil needs to be tended. It cannot replenish the nutrients that it contained on its own. It needs water and fertilizer and sunshine and rest to replenish. A good farmer or gardener will see to the soil and make certain that this is done so that each harvest is plentiful. Our Heavenly Father does the same for us.
Tending to Our Nourishment
Our soil is tended by the Holy Spirit, but there is one caveat. We must listen and obey to grow and to be fertile soil. For us, there is one main tool. It is God’s Word. It is the Holy water that brings nourishment. It is the fertilizer that brings nutrients of wisdom, understanding, and discernment. That Word is also the herbicide that and hoe that will give us the power to keep the weeds and thorns out of the soil. It is also the place to find truth from fiction, and it is the common tool that allows the body of the Church to unite around a single understanding.
We are Not Alone
We are united in the body of the Church with one Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, who knows all we face and intercedes for us and fills us with strength.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
He Is our hope and our understanding. He who knew no sin became sin and paid our debt in full. He took the punishment reserve for us upon himself that we might receive forgiveness and grace.
We Need Not Conform to This World
This world is not our home we are strangers passing through to an eternal life with God. A gift that we share because it is the most wonderful thing imaginable. To do this, we must stand in the world but not of it.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
How do we do this? Through prayer and study.
Prayer and Study
I am so thankful for God’s Word. What an amazing gift he has given us. From Genesis to Revelation there is a message that reveals the one true God to me and not like a fire hose of information, but in a way and time that God knows I need it. I am humbled by His love, grace, and patience with me.
One of the passages that has always struck me is not discussed much but touches my heart. It is in Acts. Paul goes from Thessalonica to Berea and speaks to the men in the synagogue in Berea.
Acts 17:10-12 (ESV)
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
The thing the Holy Spirit convicts me of is the end of verse 11 through 12 – “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.”
They listen eagerly to the teaching, but they did not take Paul at his word. They tested everything he said against the scriptures to confirm they were true and that was why they believed.
To listen to a great preacher is fine. I think my church has some of the best. I also have some favorites I listen to on video. But verbal communication is not always reliable. Even the best speaker can be misunderstood. To hang our salvation of what a preacher says on Sunday is a bit risky even if he is the greatest preacher to ever have spoken, because who is to say we are the greatest listeners that give him undivided attention. I listen close, but I can get excited about something and miss two or three sentences pondering one point and spend 2 or 3 minutes catching back up; that is just me.
Life in a Bubble
We cannot do this in a bubble either. We need the fellowship of other believers to help us tend our ground and sow our seed. The adversary would prefer to isolate us. He can use isolation to convince us we are too good for a church or not good enough and neither is true. In my experience. I need the support of my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. I like a passage out of Romans that talks about it.
Romans 12:9-21 (ESV)
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I pray that I can look at others in this fashion not holding myself above anyone, but loving one another. To live life without one another is a desperate and lonely place. I hope to be a light in a room filled with the light of Jesus from all those around me.
This world is full of all kinds of people. I think at one time or another I have played the part of the seed that fell on the path and the hard ground, but now I am in the fertile soil. For that reason, I cannot quit sowing seed. You never know when God will till up that path and nourish that soil and make it ready for seed.
You never know when God has placed a person in your path that is on the edge of that fertile soil and His desire is for you to share the Word with them, and we cannot do that if we have not fed on the Word ourselves.
You know I Love Motorcycles, but if I had never learned to ride, I could listen to others tell me what it was like, and I might even get excited about the stories. But until I throw my leg over that saddle and roll down a country road at speed it is just my imagination. It isn’t real.
I know it is a simple analogy, and some may say a bit crude, but the same is true of my relationship with God. I can listen to 100 preachers tell me how wonderful he is, but until I immerse myself prayerfully in His Word and give all my trust to Him, it is just a good story. Once I trust Him and commit to prayer and study, He shows Himself to me.
Father thank you for placing sowers that in my field that did not give up on me. Thank you, Lord, for working my soil until it was truly ready to accept that seed. Father, I am so thankful. I pray Lord that I may never give up sowing seed by sharing your word. I pray that I might listen and obey as you direct my steps and all this I pray in Jesus name. Amen!