ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP
On Sunday, Pastor Donnell spoke briefly on the topic of peace as a key focus of Advent. He also shared several stories which gave testimony to the ways that God is blessing church outreaches, particularly the Thanksgiving meal for the homeless. In his sermon, Pastor Donnell asked us to look at the places in our lives where God may have planted seeds. In this meditation, we will focus on a passagesfrom the 13th chapter of the gospel of Matthew. It is long, so we’re focusing on the beginning and the end, which focus on God sowing seeds among us.
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Moving to verse 16:
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
God generously sends out his kingdom message to a wide audience. He doesn’t seem to be concerned with whether we are worthy of the message or not. In the parable, we have some responsibility to respond to the message.
I suggest that you take some time to pray through the parable of the sower, cited above. The first time through, you might be open to what word(s) you might have received from God over your life. As you read through the four types of responses described in the parable, consider how you responded to each word? Be open to whatever feelings come regarding your response; joy, peace, thankfulness, sorrow, regret, fear, etc.
The second time through the parable, consider what God might have been speaking to you more recently. What are the nudges that you have felt recently? What have you read or heard that made you think: “I should ….” As you read about the four kinds of responses to God’s word to us, what was your response? Again, be open whatever feelings come regarding your response; joy, peace, thankfulness, sorrow, regret, fear, etc.
Read the passage one more time. Keep in mind those words from God that seemed most present to you the second time through. What might God want you to do now with those words. Write down any significant thoughts that came during your prayer and any decisions you sense you should make.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.