What then can be said about the sower? What can be said about the seed?
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near…;
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:6-13
Walk in the image of our Lord; and in all the good ground of the earth, which belongs to him; shall his seed flourish.
“Why do you speak to them in parables? Matthew 13:10-17 Jesus is faced with a generation of people whose heart has grown dull (some scriptures say calloused). Historically the prophets spoke very plainly to the people of Israel, yet over and over again they wouldn’t listen to the point at which it no longer mattered what was said. Sound familiar? The question asked by the disciples sounds suspiciously like the one we ask our children and quite often ourselves concerning why we insist on learning things the hard way. We don’t listen! While there are some experiences we must learn and struggles we must endure, it doesn’t mean we should not listen and benefit from the love and wisdom of those before us. The more we turn our hearts towards a self serving world the harder it can become to turn towards the Word of God. Parables help to create images for the hearer. As we are walking through the images, prayerfully, through Christ, for the one who desires to know; the parables become more clear and the Word of God becomes less hidden. For God desires to reveal himself as much as (and probably more) to one who truly desires to know.
“…to those who have; more will be given, and they will have an abundance…”
“Listen! A sower went out to sow…” Matthew 13:1-9 I’ve heard this popular parable about seeds falling on various ground many times with several interpretations. I must admit however, that I heard something slightly different as I read it today. I see it much more positively than I’d previously read and my attention was drawn to the sower. Every new morning the sower has an opportunity to sow. Much like the seed of the sower which falls on various ground, the seeds we plant in our own lives fall on various ground. Of the things we work towards in life, some of them bear fruit and some don’t. Some things are extremely successful and other things are only slightly successful. Even the Word of God we have to share with the world isn’t always going to be received by every faction of the world. The key however is that the sower continues to sow. So too we must continue to sow the Word of God knowing that in spite of the birds of prey, the rocks and thorns, God will provide good ground.
Featured Image: The Parable of the Sower from Matthew 13:1-9 art by Earnest Graham, 2008 www.earnestillustrations.com
“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:43-50 Building the body of Christ often must go beyond the usual relationships. Although the old city of Jerusalem is known for it’s walls, we do not have to be within those walls to experience God’s presence. Christ has broken down the barriers and the measuring lines now over extends in order that all who do God’s will are included in his Kingdom. Let us not cut ourselves off by drawing our own line and building those “walls” back up again.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will guide you with my eye. Do not be like the horse or mule which have no understanding; who must be fitted with bit and bridle, or else they will not stay near you.”
‘It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.’ Matthew 12:22-32 When someone criticizes another for doing or being something positive, my young friends call that person a “hater.” I remember some years ago the first time I heard the term and it got me thinking about the many facets of hate. I’d always thought of it in terms of prejudice or bigotry which can be quite blatant and deep seeded. I realized in a competitive world, such as ours, even in believers, hate can be displayed in more simplistic forms like discouraging words or disrespecting people who are not like us. It becomes like an inside job that divides us and fools us into thinking that if it is not behavior with a strong aversion or intense passionate dislike, that it is not hate, but rather just a difference in perception or even judgment. Perhaps herein lies the problem. We focus to much on our own perception rather than God. I don’t believe God created us to be “haters”. He gives us gifts to encourage and build up one another. Let us use those gifts according to God’s will and to the glory of his name and not be a body divided against itself.
He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick… Matthew 12:15-21 (Isaiah 42:1-4) Healing is a delicate matter. The process can take as little as a few hours or it can take years. Early in Jesus’ ministry he began healing, initially defining his call to the lost sheep of Israel (Matt.15:24), but in just three years he would heal anyone who came before in faith and believed in his authority. In him was their hope and in him they found healing, bringing justice to victory in administering the law of God’s love for his creation. Today we are the benefactors of that victory. Bruised and smoldering, yet steadfast and immovable in our faith, we too have hope. We are not alone. We too will find healing.
Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? Matthew 12:1-14 Consider this; what if you were a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, would you not expect to see your shepherd lay hold of you and lift you out? If we treat each other with contempt, should we expect God to treat us with contempt as well? No – of course not. In the same way the Shepherd has a relationship with the sheep, God has a relationship with us. He will reach down and lift us up every single time. To the glory of His name, we too are called whenever possible, to lift each other up.
…you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants… Matthew 11:25-30 To have a cerebral advantage in this life is certainly a benefit. Who wants to understand themselves as infantile in their thinking? But consider this, the already wise and intelligent in the world are filled with knowledge, experience and “good” judgment in the world. While the infant is in the early stage of development. The message of Christ isn’t about reaching the smartest person in the room or the one least likely to succeed, but rather reaching the heart of one who has the capacity and eagerness to be filled with the knowledge of the Spirit even in the midst of our preconceived thoughts, and previously learned behaviors. Yet, in order to redesign a cupboard that is already full – it must first be emptied. The more we empty ourselves of the worlds’ knowledge and understanding, the more God is able to reveal himself through Christ, moving in a spiritual path of least resistance from the Apostles right through us today, and into every believer tomorrow.
What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. … 1 Corinthians 15:30-41 Paul is in a community of believers who are questioning that there is a resurrection and living without regard to their baptism. He warns them that “bad company ruins good morals.” Even at this age, I don’t have to go that far back to be reminded of the times I have fallen into company with thoughts and or actions that were just wrong. When I surrounded myself with “bad company” it was very easy to forget the bare seed planted within me, the one in which I, with God’s help, must take responsibility for its care, nurture and maturation. It is the seed purposely exposed in the world, in order that God may give an imperfect body a more perfect purpose. This happens when I surround myself with good company that encourages and shares in the work of Christ for building up the one body. For it is in hope of the resurrection, that I choose to sow this seed of life in Christ, because in due season, while I believe my body will return to the earth, I am confident that my spirit belongs to God and surely will be lifted up.