Tending the Garden

Hi my friends! Happy Friday!

Here’s part three of my Parable of the Sower study! I have enjoyed taking a deeper look at these verses, and I hope you have too. Here are links to part one and part two in case you need to catch up. 🙂

In interest of review… The parable of the sower is a story in which a farmer goes out to sow his seeds, and four different planting scenarios arise. Jesus uses these scenarios to picture four different responses to the gospel. We’ve already looked at the seeds that were eaten by birds and the seeds that fell into rocky soil. This week we get to explore the seeds that fall into thorny ground.

Personal Experience…

Speaking of thorny ground, my vegetable garden is not very show-worthy this year. Maybe I’m the only one, but I always seem to start the season with great intentions – consistent weeding, consistent watering, proper care, and a bumper crop, right?

Somehow I fall short somewhere between June and July. Good intentions take a backseat to more pressing house chores, and I end up where I am today – tired plants that look a little worse for wear, and healthy weeds that are thriving. At least I was smart this year and planted zinnias in front of my veggies. The weeds are a little less noticeable. 🙂

 

“Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain…” (Mark 4:7)

The sower from the parable had trouble with weeds too. (See? We’re in good company!) As the seeds germinated and grew, so thorns popped up too and crowded out the seeds that the sower had planted. As a result, the baby plants were choked and prevented from producing grain. Jesus explains later that these plants represent people who hear the gospel but are distracted by the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things. Their distraction prevents them from bearing the spiritual fruit that God intended them to bear.

What if it happened like this?

Amy has a good life. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and their kids are excelling in school and in sports. She and her husband both work long hours, but the pay is great, and they’ve recently put a down-payment on their dream house. Their spare time goes to the family hobby – soccer. Between coaching, practice, camps, and away games, life is jam-packed with good things. Amy was raised in a Christian family, but with everything else going on, she finds it hard to make it to church regularly. “I know it’s important, but there are so many other things happening right now…”

This isn’t hard to picture, is it? Especially in the American-dream-driven culture that we live in. It’s so easy to get involved in extra stuff, and it’s so hard to say no. The tragedy occurs when we allow these lesser priorities to take over the time that we should be devoting to God.

The Thorns…

As Jesus explains this parable, He identifies three types of thorns that can choke out the seed of the Word of God. He mentions the cares of this world, which are our everyday worries – making a living, paying the bills, visiting the doctor. The deceitfulness of riches is next in the line-up – the siren call of a potential pay raise, a substantial 401k, or a lucrative stock market. Finally, Jesus speaks of the desires for other things – a bigger house, a nicer car, a fancy vacation.

Do you see these things in Amy’s American dream? She has a great family, a successful job, a nice home, and a happily busy schedule… a schedule that is choking out her time with God. None of Amy’s “stuff” is bad in and of itself, but these extra things are taking over the garden of her heart and crowding out the Seed that is really important.

Christians Can Struggle With This Too…

So what about me? Is the garden of my heart well-tended and clear of weeds? Or is there “stuff” in my life that seems innocent enough, but is actually preventing me from nurturing God’s Word in my heart?

We’re never going to be finished with weeds. Anyone with a garden can testify to that! The key with a garden is to be consistent – to spend a little time on a regular basis finding the little rascals and rooting them out. That way we don’t end up with an overgrown mess on our hands! The same is true of our hearts. While we might not be able to see the thorns in our life, God does. And He wants to help us root those out.

I’m going to be honest – I don’t have the strength to root these thorns out by myself. But God does! My prayer is that God will give me a love for Him that is greater than my love for the things of this world. That He would tend my garden, nurture His Word, and cause it to bear His spiritual fruit in my life.

Let God tend your garden. And trust Him as He does – He’s the master gardener!

Praying for you!

~ Erin

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