A trampled pathway (12-10-20)
Bible Reading: Matthew 13:3-7, 18-22
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.
"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…
When we moved here last year our garden was somewhat overgrown. There was nothing either productive or particularly attractive growing there. There were areas that were completely overgrown with weeds and shrubs, and trees that blocked out the light and smothered anything of any value. There were also areas covered in stones, that nothing had the strength to grow through.
Fortunately Helen and I like gardening and there are now areas that we have dug over, removing weeds, stones and over-rampant shrubs, and where we are now growing good crops of fruit and vegetables, we have let the light in to a, previously hidden, walled garden, and planted a variety of flowering planted and shrubs.
Jesus’ teachings about the farmer sowing seed, and some of it falling on the path, some on the stoney ground, some among the weeds and some on good soil, is usually referred to as ‘The Parable of the Sower’. A better title would be ‘The Parable of the Soils’, since it’s message is really about the differences in the soils. The usual application, then, is to say ‘So, which type of soil are you, and how could you become good soil and produce a harvest?’
Isn’t it also true though, that there are areas in each of our lives, like in a garden, that correspond to each of the different soils?
Do we not all have areas like the pathway, hardened by many trampling feet that, for whatever reason, we hold back from allowing God free access? Maybe areas of pain or past hurt, or areas of temptation or fear?
Are there not also times when we feel a gentle nudging from God to let him into these areas, and yet we turn away, afraid of what digging up the pathway might reveal?
Could we not, instead, name these hard areas before God, and allow his love to heal the pain and the hurts? Could we not, instead trust him to give us the strength and courage to face up to the temptations, and so to find the freedom and the joy that Jesus died to give us?
Thank you Jesus that your love conquers all and that you died to bring me freedom. As I lay before you today these areas of my life that I have closed off to you, may I know afresh your love, your forgiveness and your peace, and may I walk forwards with you in faith.
Father I place into your hands..