How is everyone doing today? Hope you’re finding these thoughts helpful as we wait this thing out.
I see in our reading from Luke 8 that the theme of the power of the word of God, which we considered in relation to the centurion, continues in the Parable of the Sower. Have you ever noticed the connection between the different kinds of ground the seed falls into? Or rather, the connection between the first and fourth types of ground, and the connection between the two types of ground in the middle. What do the rocky and thorny ground have in common? They’re both ground left to their natural state. Walk past any parcel of ground that’s been left to itself and you will notice stones and weeds. But that’s not true for the first or last types of ground in the parable. Neither a pathway nor ground that’s ready to bring forth fruit come naturally. They both need to be worked on.
So, what’s the lesson for us? Left to ourselves, without bothering to work on our hearts, we won’t have the depth (rocky) or resistance to trials and temptation (thorny) needed to be fruitful. We might hear the word but it won’t sink in deep and it will be overcome by the cares of this life. Most of humanity is in these sorts of states. Very few people choose to be affected by God and his word and go about removing the stones and weeds from their spiritual garden.
But some do, with very different outcomes depending on our reception of God in our lives. Some people go out of their way to make themselves completely impervious to the word of God. They harden their hearts like a pathway so that the word of God bounces off them. For instance, someone who has bought into the notion of philosophical naturalism has already made their mind up that nothing supernatural exists and that everything can be explained by naturally occurring phenomena. The gospel message bounces off people who have that sort of mindset. As soon as you utter the words “God” or “Bible” they have already made their minds up and nothing will get through. They have purposefully manufactured for themselves a heart that cannot be penetrated by the word of God.
Of course we don’t want to be like that. But we do we need purpose to work on our hearts. To do this we need to “break up your fallow ground” (Hos. 10:12) and remove the stones and weeds that get in the way. Perhaps we can use the current situation we are experiencing to identify those stones and weeds in our lives. At the moment we have a heightened appreciation for the preciousness of life. We have a moment to breathe while those things that can become the stones and weeds of life – sports, recreation, restaurants, vacationing and everything else which is shut down – have been replaced by a time where we can reflect on our faith and seek to dig deep and plant the word of God in good ground. So let’s look at this time as an opportunity given to us by God to prepare our hearts to meet our Lord. Remove the stones, do our daily weedings (sorry!), turn over the ground of our minds by meditating on the word of God and receive the word of God in soil that has been worked on instead of just being left to itself.
Simi Hills, CA