Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Be Thou My Vision"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 4:3-4,8-9 – "Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. … And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." And he said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (ESV)
Recently, the slugs and snails have been after my dahlias and lupines. I have been dismayed at how much damage can be done in such a short time over the mid-summer nights. Brutal has been the decimation, and total the annihilation of some plants right down to the soil — just gone, eaten for breakfast.
The aggressive nature of the onslaught by the slugs and snails brought the Parable of the Sower into sharp relief again.
The Sower is Jesus' oh-so-familiar keynote speech. If we are fortunate, it is told to us from an early age, as a part of our Christian Sunday School heritage. Everyone knows the parable, right? We hear it, but we see it as a fine Sunday-morning or bedtime storyline to agree with, but perhaps no longer as prompting us to dig deeply to examine ourselves and to hold ourselves up in its light.
To Jesus' disciples and hearers, it was received with initial bewilderment, but its truth is also for today's disciples and listeners of the Word. It is an explanation of a fallen world's confrontational nature against the kingdom of God. It is His revelation of a world order that He came to bring victory over, through His death and resurrection.
Time has done nothing to lessen any of its cutting-edge truth, and people are still in need of hearing the Good News of salvation from us.
Those poor dahlias and lupines had been grown in the protection of a greenhouse, but as soon as they were put out into the garden, there was total onslaught. Not wanting to use toxic slug bait, I was up early and out late at night finding and removing the perpetrators to limit the damage done and enable the flowers to bloom.
Likewise, personal experience shows me that distraction, dissipation, obstruction, persecution, and antagonism will always find Christians in the world. Somewhere, they all lurk, waiting — in us or in the world — for an opportunity to separate us from, or to limit, the love of God which bears kingdom fruit. Only by Jesus' grace and protection, we, too, are able to blossom and bear fruit in keeping with the kingdom of God.
Prayer: Lord, Your love is amazing, Your faithfulness never-ending. Please show us the birds, weeds, and thorns in our lives, so that we may recognize and resist them, and in turn, hand them over to You. Minister to us, that we may produce fruit in keeping with Your kingdom. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.