Today’s reading is the parable of the sower and the seed which is found in Matthew 13:3-8 and Matthew 13:18-23, Mark 4:3-8, and Luke 8:5-8 and Luke 8:11-15. The fact that this parable is found in 3 of the 4 gospels tells me this might be one the Lord once to empathize through His Word. This parable was actually my first ever Bible Journal writing topic in January of 2017. One of my mentors always said, “repetition is the mother of learning,” so most of what is contained below is from that post. However, there were a few new things I picked up in reading this again which I added.
Jesus first tells of seeds which fell along the path and were eaten by birds. He clarifies this is those who hear the message, but don’t understand and accept it. Their hearts are hardened, and they are not ready to accept their Lord and Savior Jesus. The Devil carries these seeds away. The Devil and the norms of this earthly world are leading their life. He then tells of seeds that fell on rocky soil. He clarifies here He is describing those that gladly hear the Good News, but lose faith when trouble and persecution come. The Word did not “sink in” so to speak like the seeds did not sink in the soil. He then tells of seeds that fell among the thorn bushes. These seeds grow up, but are choked out by the worries of this life, the love of riches and the world. Finally, Jesus tells of seeds sown in the good soil which sunk in and bore great grain. This is describing those that hear the message, understand it, and bear fruit by living it out in their everyday lives.
A few years ago, I told my wife how thankful I was for the blessings we have received, but that I was also fearful for how I would react when we faced what I perceived as some “real” challenges others have faced. We know that challenges will come because James 1:2 says “when” trials come and not “if.” I had attended church my whole life, but how do we make sure our faith is strong and the seeds are planted deep in the good soil? Is going to church regularly enough? Would that prepare us?
In order for the seeds to be buried deep and take root, we must have a strong relationship with Jesus. In fact, Jesus specifically directs us to do so in John 15:5.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
How do we foster that relationship with Him? Here are a few things we came up with…
- Find a church that focuses on the Bible and sees it as the truth and never changing with time, despite what modern day culture tries to tell us.
- Be in the Word daily (finding a daily devotional helps) to provide a constant and consistent message of instruction and direction.
- Be in prayer throughout the day to be in communication with God and keep our heart in the right place. This draws us close to Him.
- Join a Bible study/small group to create a community of believers and friends that can help facilitate and hold us accountable to growing our relationship with Him and our faith.
Since this conversation, we have faced some new challenges we had not faced before or ever anticipated, and I believe we were better prepared to face those by improving in the areas above. Are we where we need to be? No. We can always grow closer to Him by improving even more in these areas. We need to grow more to live more like Him as we are called to and also in order to be ready for the next round of challenges which may be even tougher. Putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) to create a relationship with Jesus allows us to move forward with confidence each day in knowing we are equipped to face trials and tribulations. Again, Matthew 13:18 and James 1:2 says “when” trials come…not “if.”
One additional takeaway from reviewing these passages again is Luke 8:15.
“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the words, hold it fast in an honest and true heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
If the love of, and relationship with, Jesus has truly taken root deep in our heart, we will hold fast and be able and willing to wait as we often get thrown curveball after curveball in this life without reprieve which we cannot understand. We will trust in Him and know that nothing happens to us, but happens for us..to learn and grow closer to Him. We will cling to Him and have faith in His perfect plan for our life which ultimately leads to joining Him someday in Heaven.
What one area above will you focus on to bring you closer to oneness with Him and to be better prepared to face current and future trials?
For additional reflection on the riches of his mercy and the glory which will be revealed in Heaven, read Psalm 103, which is titled “Bless the Lord, O My Soul,” and check out amazing song, 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.