Saturday, July 24, 2010
What will my parable say?
4:00 p.m. Today's project was to see our son Steven off to Fresno this morning after his two-day visit with us. Even though we keep a guest bedroom with a queen bed ready upstairs, he prefers to sleep on a one-mattress bed on the floor of my office downstairs. I suppose that's because that was his old room, and it has sentimental value.
As I stripped off the sheet and bedspread, I took a moment to look out of the window at our garden. I noted that today it would need watering. But a thought came to me: how much more would I need to trust the Lord for our food if I only had rainfall to water my vegetables instead of just turning on the garden hose? The Holy Spirit was bringing to mind the Parable of the Sower, which Jesus told in Matthew 13:3-23, that I'd read earlier this morning. It made me ponder the "ordered randomness" of farming in the ancient world, and the faith you'd have to develop in order to trust that the frost would end, rains would come in due season, the sun would shine as expected, and the plants would grow from the seeds you sowed onto the soil.
Verses 3-8 describe seeds being scattered by the farmer that landed on the hard ground of a footpath where the birds quickly ate them; on shallow, rocky soil that sprouted quickly and wilted, because they lacked deep roots; seeds that were choked out by thorns; and those that fell on fertile soil that produced up to 100 times as much as had been planted.
"Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand." Jesus said (v. 9, New Living Translation).
Jesus' explanation to His disciples took place later in verses 19-23:
"The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don't understand it. 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 seeds 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, and 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!"( NLT).
What will my parable say? Will it represent a fertile faith that shares the love of God and His plan of eternal life with as many people as possible? Or will I just lie inert, producing nothing for the Kingdom, contentedly assured of my own salvation? Will my parable represent an overcoming faith, no matter how dreadful the events of my life may become? Or will it turn into a sad tale of drying up and withering away in the heat of trials?
I pray my life and yours will "always honor the Lord, and produce every kind of good fruit." the Apostle Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:10 says. "All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better."
Thus a Christ-centered life becomes a true parable for the ages!