Sunday, September 15, 2019 - Parables: Are You Ready?
"Jane, stop this crazy thing!" -George Jetson
Don't we feel like that sometimes? Our crazy schedules can get the best of us. We go to take a walk and all of a sudden, we aren't taking the walk, but the walk is taking us...
We've been on a series of parables for the last couple of weeks. Most of us fall into the working class of people. In Jesus' day, it was no different. There was the aristocracy, and then there was the working class. Most of us reading this fall into that working class. The people in the days of Jesus gathered around to hear
him speak. They were really asking the questions that we all secretly ask in our hearts: "Do I matter to God? Does God really care about us?" Life was hard. Life is hard today. If anything, with the advent of much new technology, it has gotten crazier. We become slaves to our busy lives, so much so, that we lose sight of God.
We all ask those questions as well. Do I matter to God? Does God really care about me? We might distract ourselves from the discomfort of not knowing the answer to that question by packing our schedules full of tasks so that we do not have to ponder the answer or ask those questions to God directly.
But two things we need to always remember are:
that 1) God is always looking for us; God is always searching for us and waiting for us to return. 2) We are lost. We are not where we are supposed to be and life is about the journey to return home.
Once we recognize that reality, we ask the question, "What should we do?"
But the real questions is: Are we ready to return home? Are we ready to be found? Are we ready to make the necessary changes? Are we ready to receive God's plan? Are we ready to make that change?
Today, we covered the Parable of the Sower. There are four types of soil that Jesus describes in that parable.
The first type of soil is the path. This translates into Barrenness. The word that falls here falls on deaf ears - or - it goes in one ear and out the other. This is the heart that is not receptive to what God has to say. This is the heart that possibly says to its neighbor, "Boy, I know a guy who really needs to hear this..." This heart says that the message is for someone else. If this is you, maybe you need to ask yourself, "What is God saying to ME today?"
The next type of soil is superficial. It is fleeting and fickle. The seed that falls on this soil springs up into a plant at first. But, when things get tough - when the rubber really hits the road in life and their faith is tested, the seed or the word that hits this heart withers and dies. If this describes the state of your heart today, ask yourself, "Where am I avoiding the cost of discipleship? Am I just in it for the good feelings? Do I just show up to church for the good music and the warm fuzzy feelings?"
The next soil is okay, but it is surrounded by weeds and the plant life that springs up in this heart is soon choked out by other things in life. The worries in this life can overwhelm us. We can want to keep up with our neighbors. This is where are busy-ness comes in. This is where our schedules have us by the hearts. Do you hear God whispering to you, "You're doing a lot, but you've been serving other gods - you've been loving and depending upon your busy schedule instead of loving and depending upon me."
Another thing that can also choke out faith is the deceitfulness of wealth. Wealth has a binding effect on us. It seems that the more we have, the more we want.
We have to be extra careful about this kind of soil. It runs rampant in our culture today. It is so easy for us to become distracted. Sometimes, we have to ask ourselves, "Where am I inconsistent?" The busiest time of the year for churches is around Christmas and Easter. The sanctuary (worship space) is decorated pretty and people like to come to church because it's the traditional thing to do around those times of year. The time when it is not busy? July through August are our slowest months. This is simply because church has become a side note instead of a priority. I'll go even as far to say that God has become a side note in our lives instead of a priority. I'll say it again - we have to be extremely careful with this one in our culture because it is so easy for us to become distracted away from God.
The final type of soil is the good soil - The Abundant soil. This is the heart where the word can grow and bloom. This soil - this heart - has the outward mindset. This heart asks the question, "Where am I giving to others? Do I have the fruits of the Spirit? Am I serving and sharing the joy that God has planted in my heart?"
The big question for all of us is: Are we ready for what God is wanting to do? Are we ready to hear what God has to say to US? Are our hearts receptive? Do we have that good soil?
Check your heart. Slow down a minute. Listen. What is God trying to tell you?