Blessed… What’s Your Dirt (Part 3)

He said many things to them in parables: “A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path, and birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it scorched the plants, and they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked them. Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit, in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one. Everyone who has ears should pay attention.”

“Consider then the parable of the farmer. Whenever people hear the word about the kingdom and don’t understand it, the evil one comes and carries off what was planted in their hearts. This is the seed that was sown on the path. As for the seed that was spread on rocky ground, this refers to people who hear the word and immediately receive it joyfully. Because they have no roots, they last for only a little while. When they experience distress or abuse because of the word, they immediately fall away. As for the seed that was spread among thorny plants, this refers to those who hear the word, but the worries of this life and the false appeal of wealth choke the word, and it bears no fruit. As for what was planted on good soil, this refers to those who hear and understand, and bear fruit and produce—in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one” (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23 – Common English Bible).

This week we are focusing on “The Parable of the Seeds.” Yesterday we began this subgroup of our Matthew devotionals by talking about farmers spreading seeds. We specifically talked about how when using a broadcasting method (the most likely method of spreading seeds during the Biblical era) most of the seed will end up in the places you want, but some will end up in the wrong places. The end result is usually a waste but sometimes God is at work in the end result.

Yesterday we talked about the seed that landed on the path and how the birds would come and eat the seed. Still, even though the birds eat the seed, at least you are feeding the birds.

Next in our lesson, Jesus talks about the seed that falls in the rocky area. The lesson says that because the soil isn’t deep it sprouts quickly but just as quickly wilts away when the sun comes out and the plant experiences the heat of the day. In the explanation part of the lesson Jesus compares this seed with people who don’t have deep roots in the faith. They can start out like gang busters but fade away when the stresses of life in the faith come into play.

Many years ago I came to know a man who had a sudden experience with God. With this experience he was all in. He worked hard in the church and in ministries outside the church. In a short period of time he also experienced one of the clearest calls to ministry I have ever seen. Then his work forced him to leave our area and our influence. I was able to stay in contact with him for a while. He got with a new church fairly quickly. He was involved but he also got together with a group of old friends who continued to have influence over him. In the end, the friends won out. With his shallow roots, he was unable to stay strong in his faith.

I lost contact with him. Ten years or so later, I ran into him in a local store. He shared with me that he rejected his call and was no longer part of the church. While he still believed in God, all the “religion stuff” just wasn’t that important to him.

It makes me sad. I wish there had been the opportunity for his roots to grow deeper while we still had influence. When the seed falls on the rocks, it is tough for the roots to take hold. I absolutely get it.

What are you doing to insure your roots grow deep?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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