Friday, Workers in and for the Harvest
Matthew 4:11 -20 (Parable of the Sower)
The entire Parable of the Sower starts off in verse 1, but what I want us to focus on today is not Jesus’ teaching to the crowd in verses 1-9 rather Jesus’ teaching his disciples over the meaning of this parable in verses 10 – 20.
This is how I see this scene going down, I think these close followers knew how important this this parable was to Jesus and probably felt some pressure to understand it, but the truth is they just didn’t – or not completely anyway. I can almost imagine them realizing they are finally in private with Jesus, so it would be a good time to ask and someone is just like, “you ask, no you ask, no you ask.” What is unique about this interaction is that we get a chance to be a “fly on the wall” to Jesus explaining this parable to those that are closest to him.
Jesus starts out by telling his disciples that they have received the secrets of God’s kingdom, but that does not mean that everyone will receive it as they have, that some will choose to reject it – and in return reject him. Then Jesus continues to his explanation to the disciples, in verse 14, to explain why rejection happens. Jesus says, that those that hear the word and will end up in one of these four groups:
Group One: Seed is sown and quickly stolen away by Satan
Group Two: Seed is sown but has no root and therefore dies
Group Three: Seed is sown but is choked out by earthly desires
Group Four: Seed is sown and produces an overabundance of a harvest
So, when we take a step back and consider this entire parable, what Jesus is teaching is twofold:
First - Rejection will happen, but it is not our job to judge the soil it is just our job to plant the seed.
Jesus is saying that despite rejection, his kingdom and cause will continue to grow. That while we will undoubtedly experience rejection due to the Gospel message, we will also experience life change. In ourselves, as well as, in others. We can be the farmer in the lives of others – but only if we are willing to throw out the seed and experience the transformation first hand.
This, by the way, is why we call it church planting. When we planted Real Hope, we hoped and prayed and we still hope and pray that as many people as possible in our community will walk through the doors, so we work hard to give God the best we can with the reality is there are going to be some that reject us for whatever reason. Maybe our style, our message, our music whatever - but that doesn’t stop us because there will be some that don’t. And we have already seen this – people that have come to church for the first time ever or in decades. People that 6 months ago, before Real Hope existed, didn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ but now do.
Second - We need to be alert and actively invest in the condition of our soil.
If you are like me, as you were reading this parable you probably identified yourself in one of the four groups and maybe you even desired to be in another group. Well, the first thing to do is realize and acknowledge that this is not something you can do on your own and there is an enemy that desires to hinder your clarity and ability to serve the Lord and love people, which means we need to make a commitment to be intentional about counteracting that.
The only difference between the first three groups and the last is the condition of the soil, not the seed. The reason that is important for you to hear, is so that you know that God loves you just as much as anyone else. That the God throws out the same seed to everyone. Christianity is not exclusive, it is radically inclusive. Whatever you may have been dealt in this life (good, bad or ugly), know that is not because God loves you more or less than someone else. The condition of your life does not reflect the character of God, because the condition of our lives is changing constantly but God’s character never changes. God only knows love. The Bible says God is love. But the condition of your heart can determine the depth in which that love takes root, so it is important that you are investing in the condition of your soil – also known as the condition of your heart.
Dear Father, thank you for the opportunity to tell the greatest story ever told and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those in our circles. I pray that as we set out on the mission of being a conduit of your love and ushering others into a relationship with you, you would encourage us and carry us. You would protect us from the schemes and plans of the enemy and we would run tirelessly after you as we embark on the work you have set before us. We love you, Amen.