I'm very excited. For the next two Sundays, Josh is preaching at Watermark Church while our pastor is on a mission trip to Israel... and I am very excited about what he is going to be speaking on! One of my favorite parables that Jesus shared, is the parable of the sower. I think one of the reasons I love it so much, is because Jesus actually explained this one to us! Haha. :) Tomorrow Josh will elaborate more on this, but I thought I would just share some of my thoughts from this revealing passage.
"Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” - Matthew 13:3-9
Now, sometimes we can walk away from parables (and a lot of Scripture, actually) and wonder, "What exactly is He trying to tell me here?" We may probe the passage searching for answers. In this case, Jesus explains to the disciples just exactly what is meant.
“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” - Matthew 13:18-23
Wow! How can we walk away from that and not consider our own hearts and the seed that has been sown within us? I would bet that there is not a single person reading this right now that has never heard the name of Jesus. I say that with such boldness, because for one, there are probably only about three of you that are even reading this (hey Josh, Court and Cindy!). And secondly, I'm American and I'm guessing that you probably are too. America was founded by Christianity.
Saying all that, I think it is important to realize something - knowing the name of Jesus... and knowing Jesus, are two completely different things. And I believe that the American culture has more seeds that fall into hard, shallow and thorn-infested soil than anything else. Some hear the gospel of Jesus and just don't understand it (hard soil). Some hear the message and receive it with joy immediately; but when their joy fades, so does their faith (shallow soil). Some hear from God, but are too distracted with the worries and concerns of this life to do anything about it (thorn-infested soil).
The seed that we should pursue, is the seed that gives evidence of fruit! The seed that is hungry for more rain and sunlight to produce more and more. I love seeing a true seed grow. It is probably my favorite thing in the world. And when that seed begins to multiply into a harvest... it is a beautiful sight.
What kind of seed are you? Have you fallen on rocky soil and just never understood what following Christ is all about? Did you once get excited about the possibility of following God, but fell away as soon as you ran into a problem? Have you just been more wrapped up in the concerns of this world and never been able to really grow? Or is your seed rooted so deeply, that you are now investing in others and planting seeds of your own? I pray, that today your heart is one seed closer to the right soil.