From the Evangelist Desk April 2011.
Where did I fall?
Matthew 5:1-9 (NIV)
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
This Lent I am in somewhat of a quandary. I am thinking about what I should have given up, I then think about the fact that I should Fast, but then upon reflection I think is this what God really wants? Would it not be good to give up giving up? Shouldn’t we examine where we, as Gods seed have fallen, as per Matthew’s passage?
How many of us have given up on our churches, making excuses for why people are not attending our places of worship, or why they are not enjoying our fellowship?
So firstly let us explore what type of ground we have fallen on.
Have we fallen on the path, where we have been shown the Word of the Lord, but have failed to understand it, therefore turned away from Him who created us? No surely not, because we are part of the Body and Blood of Christ, knowing and waiting for His Kingdom.
Have we fallen on the rocky places, where we receive the Word of the Lord with joy, but then when things get tough, we turn from the Lord, sometimes blaming everything on Him? I think of people that I know, (None within this Diocese I hasten to add), where they always say in times of trouble, ‘It’s God’s will.’ This sweeping statement as far as I am concerned is a right turn off to the Faith that we are all apart of. I would go so far to as state that it is not in fact ‘God’s will’ that something bad has happened to us, there are other reasons and explanations, but certainly not God willing bad things onto us.
Have we fallen on thorny soil, where we hear the Word of the Lord, but centre our worries on worldly matters and concerns, plus all the outside influences within our lives, where we are so easily distracted and find so many ‘valid’ reasons why we can’t spend time with the Lord? We all face the pressures of life, where many factors dictate what we must do, when we must do it and where we must do it. We have cultural factors and behaviours within our workplaces and social networks. ‘Just not enough hours in the day’, when was this sentence first used I wonder?
Or lastly have we been blessed to fall on the good (fertile) soil, where we are nourished and watered by our church, by our Faith and by the Body and Blood of our shared belief? Being cast on this soil we are not able to say we give up. We are not able to just sit back and enjoy the ride, we are as busy as those nourishing us. We are here to grow and to produce a good crop. We are to produce a hundred, six or thirty times the amount of that which was sown and nourished.
If we feel that we have fallen in any other soil than the good soil do we stand a chance of being uprooted and replanted? Of course we do, because our Lord is the best gardener and farmer in the universe. He has the power to lift us, root and all from one place and replant us in another. Our task is to believe and to accept the nourishment and water that we are being fed and to grow and produce the crop that we have been given the God given ability to produce, whether that be thirty, sixty or a hundred times more than was planted.
We are the Lord’s Easter people, full of hope, full of love, full of compassion. So let’s give up giving up and look to the future. Let us pray to the Lord asking that He gifts us in sowing seeds, that they may land on the good soil, to be nourished and watered to grow the Church of God.
Remember if we give up sowing, then we will not receive a bountiful harvest, in fact we will not receive any harvest at all.
So this Lent, I for one am giving up giving up and I am going to help where the Lord leads me to help, digging where He tells me and sowing where He asks.
Yours in Christ.
© Rick Hayes, April 2011