“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” (From Luke 8:5-8)
I can recognize in my life, times when I fit into each of the four categories mentioned in the parable of the sower.
I know that there was a time where if anyone mentioned the word Jesus, or anything having to do with the Bible, I would sort of “tune out”. I always thought there must be some sort of God, and that Jesus must have existed. But that instead of him being the son of God, or God himself in flesh, I thought he was just some guy who had a lot of great ideas and did great things. And I, like so many, thought that the “one way to the father” stuff was all a bunch of malarky. So hearing anyone preach, or even share what he’d done for them, sort of fell on deaf ears. At the time the seed was definitely falling along the path, to be trampled on or eaten by the birds.
I remember times also where I felt like “I’ll give this religion thing a shot”. I would go to church, for a week or two, and I was bound and determined to read the bible, even if it was just to say I did, and so that I could be “smart” when people would have “religious discussions”. But there wasn’t anything there, and it all sort of got dry or boring. And “God certainly wasn’t doing anything in my life”, so I gave it up. In those times, the seed was falling on the rocks, quickly withering due to no moisture.
Funny, thought, that is exactly where Jesus met me. He used that time of pride and selfish ambition in my life, to reveal himself to me in a huge way. And things started to change in my life……
I still have moments where I am so consumed by this world, and all its troubles. Or – when I seek pleasures of this world, instead of first seeking his kingdom and righteousness. Where I put things before God, and they become my idol. There are struggles I have yet today, that I must wrestle with, and that I often put before God. Lust, anger, gossip, jealousy, greed – I could go into on and on, but I’m sure I’m not alone here. You may be able to come up with your own list. This is definitely when the seed is falling on the thorns, and I allow the things of the world to choke anything the Holy Spirt is trying to do in and through me. I become ineffective for his kingdom, and tend to worry about myself.
Then there are those few moments, where I set myself aside. Where I seek his face. Where I lay my life down for my neighbor, putting their best interests before my desires. Where I am obedient to what the Lord has for me, and others through me. Oh – that I would embrace this fully, always! These are the wonderful moments where the seed falls on good soil, and produces a crop a hundred times more than was sown.
These are those amazing moments where the Holy Spirit does his wonderful work through me! And it’s not anything of me – it’s only when I empty myself of the desires and cares of the world, when I put myself last. When I seek no glory, no fame, no accolades. When I do what is right, for no other reason, for nobody to notice – just because it’s right. Oh, that there would be so many more of those in my life!
But the thing is – I don’t even know I’m doing it so often. HE’s doing it! While I do have a choice to make – to follow the Lord or not to follow – it’s the Holy Spirit in me that drives this. I am powerless without him, and it’s only when I recognize that, and turn my life over, that he begins to work. Free will – such an amazing gift! Not the most amazing, but cool all the same….
Father, I thank you that you have sown seed on good, fertile soil in my life. Let me not quench what the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. Reveal to me daily what grieves you in my life, in my heart. I thank you that you have not overwhelmed me, but are constantly working me, transforming me into your image. Let me no longer conform to the things of this world. You gave me free will, because you love me – not because of anything I’ve done, but because of who you are – and you desire my love in return. I want to give that all back to you. Without you, I am nothing. With you in my heart, there is so much to offer! Use me Lord, as you have planned. I pray this in your Son Jesus’ name – name above all names!
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”