So recently I went on a trip to Texas and was able to catch some cool pictures with my camera. (Low key taking credit for my featured pictures) While I was in Texas I was texting friends back home. I have a few friends who stick out to me.
One, we’ll call Mr. P for now, is looking pretty hopeful as a Christian. He reads his Bible regularly, constantly has questions and has a heart to serve. He challenges me in all of these areas and his constant questions drive me to find answers or at least contemplate things I had never really thought of before. However, his one constant struggle seems to be fear or lack of assurance. Many times we’ll have massive block texts of theological debates over a passage of the Bible that makes him fear his salvation or what God thinks of him or if he actually loves God. We’ll come back to Mr. P.
Second, we have Mr. C. A promising believer who I personally witnessed his conversion or at least his recitation of the sinner’s prayer. Mr. C occasionally has questions and is constantly barraged by the struggles of his life and family which tear him down to moments of depression. In these moments he usually texts or calls me. I do my best to point him towards Christ and the Bible as the solution for each of his concerns and questions of what to do. He seems however to only ask for help so someone will listen to him and continues to turn to a bottle or a screen as a temporary sedative to his ever constant pain. We’ll come back to Mr. C as well.
Thirdly but not leastly, we have Mr. T. Mr. T is an acclaimed Christian with no signs of fruit or growth but fairly decent head knowledge. His pursuit of Christendom is merely a means to a publically admitted end. That end being a relationship. Not a marriage mind you, merely a dating relationship. Mr. T struggles with a lack of emotions and his only success in feeling anything has been found in relationships. His many failed suicide attempts have merely frustrated him and opened him to a twisted view of God and God’s “purpose” for him, which is seemingly malevolent. Now we have met our cast now for the story.
Our story is found in Luke 8:1-15. It is the story of the sower and the soil. I encourage you to read the whole parable but for now we shall talk about the interpretation of it. (Luke 8:11-15)
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
So where do our cast members fall in this line up? Well to my eyes I would say that Mr. T is on the path, Mr. C is of the rocky ground, and Mr. P is fighting with some thorns.
So what is the solution? How can Mr. T, C, and P come to be a good soil ready to receive and produce a crop so bountiful? Well first I’ll offer my original understanding and then I’ll offer an alternative I heard while traveling. (Also I am totally up for alternatives in the comments)
The way I understood this parable was that if we examine our lives and find ourselves to be of the hard soil then it is up to God to break us up (usually through some form of suffering) so that we can receive the seed. God is the gardener and must break the ground, drive away the birds and pull out the weeds. So in the Cases of Mr. T, C, and P I would pray that God might do whatever it takes to break them down for the purpose of growing a bountiful crop in them. (Option A)
The alternative I heard today is that we are responsible to break up our ground, pull out our weeds and drive off the birds from our life. We must do our best to bring before God a “Broken and contrite spirit” which is pleasing to God. And so in the Cases of Mr. T, C, and P I would reason with them and pray for them that they might do what they can to present to God soil ready for the harvest. (Option B)
Oddly enough this identified in me a double standard. I would pursue others with option A and then pursue my own life with Option B. As I sit and think about these options however I believe a third option arises. Much like a school test option C is “all of the above”. We can do everything we can to tear out the weeds, drive off the birds and bring a Broken and Contrite spirit before God but also we should be praying for His help since it is HIS seed, and HIS water and HIS gardening that will produce a crop in us. This allows us to work together with God and with our fellow Christian to prepare, maintain, and produce a crop bountiful and plentiful in order to give God our firstfruits.
Just a COG