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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, October 31, 2019           

Today’s Scripture 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)

Reflection
I vividly remember the first time I heard this parable. I was in my childhood Sunday School class. We had been promised that if we kept our hands clasped in front of us and our feet on the floor during the whole story, we would be rewarded with a Dixie cup of water and a graham cracker. I was not going to miss out on that treat!

As I listened to the parable of the sower, I wondered at what point in my life someone would tap me on the shoulder and tell me if I were destined to be rocky, thorny, or good soil. I wanted to be the type of person who had deep roots and produced good fruits. But what if I could never be more than a rocky patch? Was I predestined to grow thorns? Could I change my soil type? This all seemed much harder than clasped hands and feet on the floor.

In Jesus’ parables, there was always a twist that would have confounded his ancient followers. In an agrarian culture, seed was a highly valuable resource. No farmer with any sense would toss seed into rocky or thorny areas. Seed would only be distributed in areas with a high probability of successfully growing crops.

Isn’t that like God? Throwing around valuable resources like grace, mercy, and forgiveness to all areas whether or not it seems probable that good fruit will be produced. Maybe this parable is about God’s generosity rather than my ability to change my soil type. Maybe there are seasons of life when I am not the ideal growing environment, but God keeps on tossing seed my way.

Prayer
God of reckless abundance, continue to plant your word in my life. Thank you for generously sowing the seeds of your good news in all places and at all times. When I feel like I’m a thorny patch or when things are a little rocky, help me to remember that you never give up and that it is your love that produces good fruit. Amen.

Written by Andrea Denney, Director of Operational Ministries

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