Matthew 13:18-23 – Hear then the parable of the sower. When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a little while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what is sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundred fold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. (RSV)
Have you, like me, ever read these words and found yourself in every verse? Have you ever been the seed sown along the path, and let confusion or doubt about some detail of Christian doctrine rob you of joy and accomplishment? Have you ever been the seed sown on rocky ground, and let fear of persecution turn you back from glorifying God fully before others? Have you ever been the seed sown among thorns, letting riches and the pursuit of worldly pleasure take most of your heart, so little or nothing is left for the work of Christ?
I believe these words were written, not that many of us would find ourselves initially as the seed sown upon good soil and rejoice, but that most of us would see ourselves in the other categories and repent. Remember Peter, who denied Christ three times — what a fine example of seed sown upon rocky ground. But thank God that Peter grew from where he was to where he was meant to be, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit! Remember Saul, who was persecuting the Church of Christ, not understanding the Kingdom correctly, but who became Paul, and served Christ boldly until his death.
Matthew 7:7 – Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (Amplified)
Perhaps the dominant quality, which makes the good soil "good", is that it "keeps on".
Who will shout the praises of God's love and mercy loudest in heaven: those who stumbled least, or those who stumbled much, yet were rescued by His grace?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may those of us who have stumbled towards Your Kingdom, find hope in the fact that others have stumbled before, yet Your love did not allow them to fall, but was victorious over the sins which tangled and twisted their steps, until Your will was accomplished in their lives. Praise You, God, that even when all we can do is to "keep on", You make that sufficient and do the rest for us. In Jesus' precious name we praise You, Father; in Your mercy we stand. Amen.
- When darkness tries to cover me
And I fear, this time I'll fall —
His blood comes washing over me;
His blood, which conquers all.