Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 15; 147:1-11, Isaiah 44:24-45:7, Ephesians 5:1-14, Mark 4:1-20
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells the story of a man who scatters seed. The seed lands on several types of ground, but only one type is good soil where the seed may find purchase and bloom. The seed, Jesus explains to the disciples, is the word and the different types of ground represent conditions of the hearts and convictions of those who hear it.
As Christians, we believe we are the good soil where God’s word takes root and “bears good fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” That may very well be true, but it may also be true that God hasn’t yet sown all the word He has for us. Are we still fertile ground for the new things God might do, or have we borne all the fruit we care to?
Good soil requires a lot of care. It needs to be tilled regularly. It needs water. It needs fertilizer. It needs to be weeded so its nutrients aren’t needlessly depleted. Sometimes it needs to lie fallow for a season to be restored to health.
In other words, good soil is no accident. We may have gotten lucky once – or perhaps more accurately, been the beneficiaries of God’s grace – but are we putting in the necessary work to prepare for the time when God would scatter new seed our way?
The insights resulting from prayer and study help us keep our faith freshly turned over. Worship and praise feed and water our souls. Self-examination and confession reveal the weeds we’ve let overrun our hearts and habits. And rest – the kind of rest that occurs only when we finally turn our worries over to God – gives us the strength we need to be fruitful during the more inhospitable seasons of life.
When we do this work, we are better prepared to receive and nurture whatever God throws our way: a new mission, a new journey, a new understanding. They can sink their roots deep into our hearts, and grow to their potential. The sower is generous with the seed; let’s give it somewhere to land.
Comfort: God is always doing something new.
Challenge: Select a spiritual discipline, such as fasting or prayer, and stick to it for a month. Note any changes and growth it promotes in you faith life.
Prayer: God of new life, I will do my best to be ready to receive your Word. Amen.
Discussion: When have you felt God pulling or pushing you to grow in a new direction?
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