Posts Tagged ‘thorns’

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!” “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, NRSV)

How do we know if our life is good soil?

I think at different points in our lives all of us are each of the spots that Jesus refers to here.

We are the path because we hear Jesus speaking and we don’t understand it and the evil one or the world takes that word away.

We are the rocky ground when we hear and follow but then our old friends ask why are we doing that.

We are among the thorns when we hear Jesus clearly but the worries and concerns of this life get int the way of Jesus getting full control.

We are the good soil when our lives hear the word of Jesus and we follow after knowing that this world might offer things that look better now, but following after Jesus is what we were truly made for.

How do we do this?

If it were easy Jesus would not have given this parable, but anything worth having is worth going after, and Jesus will be there to pick you up and dust you off and place you back out there, when you are snatched away, on rocky ground or surrounded by thorns. He will be there to guide you.

So follow after Jesus and let Him make you good soil.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!” “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, NRSV)

How many of us hear this and go, “Yes I know I need to allow God to work in my life to allow His word to better take root in me…”

We hear this parable and think we know what it is about. Yet do we?

We think it is all about soil. And we sing on this day, “Lord let my heart be good soil.” Allow my life to be a good place for your word to take root.

But I think we miss the point of the parable by saying it is about soil. Now don’t get me wrong, soil has a lot to do with it. But the first line of a story usually has impact on the meaning of the story…

Like ATale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” This tells us about the story.

Or the story of the prodigal son from Luke 15, the first line of this parable of Jesus is, “There was a man who had two sons…” The story is about the father, not the sons. If it were about the younger son, Jesus would have started the parable, “There was a man who had an older brother and his father…”

So how does our parable for today start, “There were different types of soil…” No that is not how it starts.

The parable starts, “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed…” There was a sower who sowed.

You see the story here is about the risk taking of the sower who extravagantly throws seed everywhere. Wasteful some would say. Yet all of the seed thrown by the sower did something. The first fed the birds, the next broke up rocks, the third fed the vines/thorns and the last produced the fruit of the seed. All of it had impact on the world. And isn’t that just like grace?

I mean God risked giving His grace to you. Shouldn’t He be as extravagant with all of creation?

So be willing to cast His seed far and wide, because that is what God would do, and He needs you to go and do likewise!

A long time afterward, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years, Joshua summoned all Israel, its elders and heads, its judges and officers, and said to them, “I am now old and well advanced in years.And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the Lord your God who has fought for you. Behold, I have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. The Lord your God will push them back before you and drive them out of your sight. And you shall possess their land, just as the Lord your God promised you. Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day. For the Lord has driven out before you great and strong nations. And as for you, no man has been able to stand before you to this day. One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as he promised you. Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you. “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. But just as all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the Lord will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the Lord your God has given you, if you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.” (Joshua 23, ESV)

When things go your way for a while it is hard to remember when you had to rely on the promises of someone else. Joshua is telling the whole of the people of God to remember the promises that God had made to them, now that they have been living in peace for some time. They need to remember when they were wandering in the wilderness and needed to rely on God for everything.

Even now when live is peaceful and good, we still need to rely on God. We need to hold fast to the promises He has made us. He will be good to His word and uphold the promises He made, for our benefit and for our demise. He will give us everything He has promised us in His word.

So if things have gone well for you, that is wonderful you have lived in the peacefulness that has been provided to you, but you still must hold fast to the promises of God. And if you are still walking in a valley that seems to have no end, remember that His people (of whom you are one) wandered in the wilderness for 40 years without a home, but not without Him! Hold fast, for He is holding fast to you.