Well, it’s taken a long time, but here’s the final instalment in this series on the Parable of the Sower! There is so much to learn from and enjoy in this parable. It will never stop bringing life to the one who opens their heart to it each and every time. The Word of God is living and active. It never gets stale, there’s always something new to learn. Another facet of God’s goodness, character, instruction. The Word of God, the Seed, is incredible!
When I started with The Path, https://wordpress.com/post/mistygullies.com/366, I was so excited. I’ll do a series, I said. It’ll be easy, I said! Fresh Blogger excitement. Starting with enthusiasm and lots of ideas flooding my mind and heart, like many of my projects – painting, gardens, songwriting, de-cluttering – I then became stuck. What was it I had wanted to say? I found it so hard to complete. But I persevered with Truth Meets Rocky Ground https://wordpress.com/post/mistygullies.com/422.
Then more procrastination. Doubt. Distraction. Fear. Personal matters that rocked my world; I had to find my foundation and peace and focus once more on Jesus. To be honest, I wrote much of this a long time ago and just forgot it. This is not how I want to do life. I don’t want to forget what I’ve chosen. I want to rise to challenges and struggles. And that’s precisely what this parable helps us with.
“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 ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, 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.”Luke 8:7-8 (NIV)
It’s interesting, Jesus didn’t describe the person who heard the word. Whether along the path, on rocky ground, in the thorns or in good soil, the person isn’t revealed as a believer or not, Jew or Gentile, male or female. This is about how any of us hear and receive the Word of God. It’s the response that makes the critical difference. Here we look at the Thorns.
“That which fell among thorns are those who when they have heard, go out and are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”(Luke 8:14 MEV)
When the Word of God is planted in us, we grow! God changes us. He doesn’t want that word to be trampled away or stolen, He doesn’t want it to shrivel in the heat and dry places. He wants us to flourish and produce fruit. In one sense, we’re the plant. “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word…” (Matthew 13:22 NLT) but, if we allow, “…the worries of this life and the lure of wealth…” crowd out God’s message, and we won’t produce what he desires.
It’s so easy to judge someone ‘like that’, who would allow the Word to be choked out of their life. And yet with a simple care, or distraction, or focus on earthly worries or pleasures (even really good things) we can all become fruitless, neglecting the Word and its truth in our lives.
I confess, at the time I started writing this, the second lockdown covid season was upon us and was very disturbing for me, maybe everyone. It was incredibly easy to allow the concerns shift me from fruitful to fruitless. I had to focus on the important things, and not let the troubling situation steal my peace, or make me forget who my mighty God was. I didn’t always succeed. Some of those thorns of worry and anger were very stubborn and prickly!
When we allow anything to become more important than the Word of God, following Him, and choosing His ways, that’s when our hearts are choked. There’s no room for the Word to flourish and bear fruit- love, joy, peace… The harvest won’t come.
You may need to repent, confess your sins or worry to a trusted friend or seek some counselling or prayer ministry. Ask the Lord what the real weeds are and how He can help you become free of them. Be open to His voice and know that His heart is one of love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. He is good. He cares. He redeems and He brings life.
“You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to You all day long…
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You…there is none like You…
You, Lord are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…
You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”
Psalm 86 NIV
Thorns and weeds were a consequence of the fall, man’s sin. They were a part of the curse that fallen man was subject to (Genesis 3:18). But on the cross, Jesus wore a crown of thorns, taking sin and its consequences in our place. No matter the thorns, weeds, or thistles that are choking you, Jesus is the answer. He has redeemed you. Turn to Him for help and freedom.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us,
for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’.”Galatians 3:13 NKJV
The worries of life, the lure of wealth (N.B. life and wealth are good things, just not the worries or the lure) can be exhausting, taking us from trusting our Heavenly Father to an idolatrous position of trying to achieve something ourselves. If my mind is constantly wondering about an issue of life, instead of praying, praising, seeking wisdom and obeying, then I am not where God wants me to be. He has a much better plan.
” Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden?
Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.
Simply join your life with mine.
Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I am gentle and humble, easy to please.
You will find refreshment and rest in me.
For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”
Matthew 11:28-30 TPT
This passage is my go-to for this year, and a word with it – Effortless! I know life is NOT effortless, but this was the word the Lord spoke to me as a reference point for this year. And what a blessing it is. Every time I remind myself of it, speaking it, considering the verse, I rejoice that my Jesus has everything in control. He has my back. He is strong and powerful. He carries the Lion’s share of the yoke (see Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV) which makes it easy to bear, alongside Him. I am united with Him. Therefore, I lack nothing (Psalm 23:1). I have His strength and wisdom, His favour, His blessing. When I come to Him, consider Him, think on who He is, praise Him, all those heavy burdens, worries, thorns, lures, drop away. I see a new vision of who I am and what my life will be. And as I consistently do this, life does become effortless in Christ.
Now, after hearing the parable, Jesus’ disciples asked Him what it meant. He didn’t answer their question at first. Instead, He encouraged them (or was it a challenge?) with,
“You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom – you know how it works.
There are others who need stories…”Luke 8:10 The Message
“You know how it works!” Well, this challenges me. I wonder if, as a disciple of Jesus, I’m making the most of those insights, the secrets of the kingdom. I have the Holy Spirit inside me, empowering me to know the Truth, to make decisions based on God’s Word and faithfulness, to trust Him in difficult circumstances and believe that He will turn all things for my good. So, apparently, as a disciple, I know how the Kingdom works! So do you. How do you feel about that? Does it terrify you, or inspire you to seek God even more?
Or we could go the ‘false humility’ route and say no one can understand God – ‘His ways are mysterious and far above’. And certainly, God is Higher and unfathomable in many ways. Yet, the Bible says things like,
“…but we have the mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:16
“…and greater works than these shall he do;” John 14:12
“Having made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure” Ephesians 1:9
“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
And yet, if I neglect the Seed (God’s Word, Jesus – John 1:1) I won’t know Him and I won’t bear fruit. Or if I do hear it, but allow it to be stolen, snatched away, trampled on, if my heart has become hard, if I allow weeds to choke it out, then any truth planted in my heart at one time, will be wasted, lost. That is not what I want.
John 15:7-8 NIV
“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you,
ask what you wish, and it will be done for you.
This is to My Father’s glory,
that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be My disciples.”
How exciting, that we can be people who bring glory to God by producing good fruit. Let’s sow the Word of God and produce a harvest of fruit that brings glory to our wonderful Father.
Blessings, Jenni xx