Just because we have heard something before doesn’t mean we should pass it by. Watchman Nee observed that patience in the face of the familiar is a sign of spiritual maturity. I need to ask your patience as I revisit and revise a post from April of last year, because it’s on my mind again:
“The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown." Mark 4: 14 – 20
Let me tell you about the first time I ever heard this parable. The night after I became a follower of Jesus a speaker used this parable to challenge us to put our roots deep into this new life. I just naturally assumed I was the good soil. How could I be anything else? Sitting next to me that night was a friend from high school who had also just turned to Jesus. After the message she wept and wept, and wept some more. Finally she composed herself enough to sob, “I just don’t want to let Jesus down. I’m afraid I might turn out to be one of those other types of soil.” I had assumed that I was the kind of person who was naturally good and would bear fruit, while she was moved to tears, crying and asking for the grace to live up her calling. At that moment I realized after just one day she was already way beyond me in her walk with Jesus.
This isn’t just any parable--it’s foundational. Jesus asked his disciples, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?” (v 13) He cautioned his students that this parable was critical to receiving the Kingdom of God (v 11).
As a young Christian I thought Jesus was describing a fixed reality: too bad for those with hardened hearts, rocky soil, or lives full of weeds, I thought. Thank God I was the good soil! It never occurred to me that his words were a call for me to tend my own heart, or that he was describing a continual process of every time he speaks into our lives. Over the years I’ve discovered I’m never further away from the Kingdom than when I think his words are for someone else, but not for me.
This week I invite you to ask, What about me? Have I watered the spoil of my heart with tears that cry out for his continued grace in my life?