Don’t you just hate it when Jesus takes away a perfectly good excuse? After all, is it not much more convenient and comforting just to blame others than to face your own responsibility?
If you dare ingest straight medicine, consider Jesus’ all-too-personal parable about growing plants. Through his story we discover we can not blame the sad state of the sickly and dying plants, as well as those which never even germinated, upon the leadership of a church, the preacher or a Bible school teacher. In the same conditions where some plants had withered, others had thrived! Why the difference? The hard-to-hear message is one of personal responsibility.
Jesus’ parable reveals that what makes the difference between the spiritual growth that produces a harvest verses the spiritually stunted or dying is the state of a person’s heart. Call it whatever you like, but a diseased spirituality occurs where people are more concerned about having fun, their bills, and other pressures in life than they are concerned about how God’s word should change their thinking, habits and lifestyle. Similarly, spiritual death can occur when a person’s greatest desire involves avoiding persecution or trouble on account of God’s word. The reason why some plants were stunted, died or never even germinated comes back to personal responsibility.
For those who want to understand, Jesus’ Parable of the Sower is a story calling us to allow God’s word to change our values and mold our lifestyle so that our character will reflect his word and we will deliberately use our time and lifestyle to achieve his purposes. Good soil produces a harvest.
Jesus’ parable steps all over our toes. I’m not so concerned about this. Good soil understands that being uncomfortable presents the needed opportunity to change and grow. What I’m concerned about is that person who simply doesn’t care, or who understands but whose final response involves being defensive or aggressive against the message. Such is not the behavior of growth.
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