The past few years I’ve experienced an unexpected benefit of being bilingual: hearing the Bible in fresh ways. When I read or hear Scripture in Spanish even familiar passages are new again, and I’ve found myself catching things I’d previously missed. This happened on Sunday, when the sermon was on the Parable of the Sower. I’ve always viewed this parable from the perspective of the sower, but this week I saw it from the point of view of the seed. As a seed planted by Christ, am I growing deeper as I should be, or I am failing to grow and bear fruit as God desires for me to do?
First, let’s look at Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower, as it explains three of the major struggles we face when it comes to growing:
Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. And for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. And for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. Matthew 13:18-23
1. Failing to understand God: Sometimes we simply fail to understand God. For example, we hear that God wants us to raise our children to be disciples, but we fail to understand that it is our responsibility to do disciple them, not to simply outsource it to others. Are you hearing God sometimes, but not really understanding Him?
2. We don’t grow deep enough: Other times in life we hear and understand God, but we fail to grow in faith and action. We don’t throw ourselves into studying the Word, praying, serving, etc. We understand the Good News, but we don’t truly follow God with all our heart, soul, and mind, nor do we love our neighbor as ourself. When in life are you struggling to truly follow God with all that you are?
3. We listen to the world: Sometimes we hear and understand God, but we choose to follow what the world says instead. We invent all sorts of excuses for why it is ok to depart from God “just this one time.” As men, we especially buy into worldly ideas of what manhood is, and we are all to prone to choose worldly views of sexuality over Godly ones. When are you listing to the world instead of God?
I pray we can all reflect on these questions this week. May we all strive to grow in faith and action, bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom in ways both large and small. Courage and blessings on the week ahead.