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Friday, June 3, 2016
Today’s Reading | Matthew 13:18–23
“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 is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on 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 such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (NRSV)
I had a hard time with this passage the first couple of times I read it. I couldn’t help but think about how unfair it seems. Jesus seems to be saying that if you don’t understand God’s word the first time you hear it, or if you hear it and get excited about it for a while and then wander away, that you’ve somehow missed the boat and that’s the end of it—that the only people who get it right are those that Jesus refers to as “good soil” and who hear the word and understand it the first time. That’s tough.
But as I thought about it more, I realized that’s not what Jesus is saying. He’s not saying that we only get one chance to hear God’s word. At some points in our lives, and for a variety of reasons, we are like the rocky ground and it’s difficult to hear God’s word. And at other points, we are good soil and it’s easy. Fortunately for us, the sower throws new seeds every year and so too does God continue to reach out and speak to us throughout all the chapters of our lives.
Gracious God, forgive me when your word falls on rocky ground or among the thorns. Guide my thoughts, words, and actions so that your words may fall on fertile soil and take root in my life. Amen.
Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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