“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:3-9, 13-20)
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
I do like a bargain. However, as I am sure many of you will be aware, not all bargains are as good as they might at first appear. Offers that appear to be too good to be true, often are exactly that. The other week Rob and I went to the garden centre and were delighted to find that they were selling off some of their perennial rudbeckias (lovely late flowering plants that come up year after year) at half price. These were very healthy-looking established plants that they clearly wished to sell off as they didn’t want to have to look after them over winter. I was delighted to pick up three plants as I had been wanting to buy some rudbeckias for the garden for a while.
After this we went to have a look at the other cut price plants that they tuck away at the back of the shop. These were not healthy-looking; these were the ones that had suffered due to the heat earlier in the summer. I picked up a hydrangea (a permanent shrub) which looked almost dead; it had barely any leaves, its flowers were small and discoloured, but it was a bargain! It was only a quarter of the price that it had originally been and I could see that it might have potential. I did what I have been told you should do in these circumstances, I carefully took hold of the plant, tipped it upside-down and took it out of its pot so that I could see what its roots looked like. I was delighted to see that they were healthy, so after carefully putting it back in its pot, we bought the plant. We took them all home, gave them lots of water and planted them out.
A couple of weeks have now passed and the rudbeckias are looking amazing and the hydrangea is thankfully coming back to life, it has new leaves and looks healthier by the day. The strong, healthy roots are responding to the care that the plant is being given and next year I’m confident it will be a lovely plant.
I was reminded of the parable of the sower and the need for us to have strong roots so that we can withstand tribulation and persecution if it comes our way. In the parable the young plants are scorched by the sun, something that we have experienced in our gardens this year. Only the plants with good roots survive. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he prays that they are rooted and grounded in love so that they can be strong in their faith. We need to have good roots, just as the Ephesians did, we need to make sure that, as Jesus instructed, that when we hear the word of God, we listen to it, accept it and act on it, then we too will be able to grow strong in our faith.
Jesus, help me to grow each day to be more and more like you.
Song: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling