Ouch. Harsh words. Let’s talk through it.
My pastor has been walking through the book of Luke. So, some of these thoughts come from his sermons, and some are my own. If you’d like to visit those those sermons, you can find them here: http://achurchforyou.com/sermon-series/luke/ . Each Sermon is marked with the passage covered.
The parable of the Sower, and the purpose of the story.
‘The parable is this: the Seed is the Word of God.’ Luke 8:11
Hear that. The SEED IS THE WORD OF GOD. Not your words, not your teaching. Not your writing. The WORD OF GOD.
Does that mean that your words are inconsequential? No, of course not, in fact quite the opposite. You are the sower. You spread the seed. That makes you pretty important right? Yes, and no.
As you spread your seeds, you must continue to walk in the Word, and build your relationship with God. Whether you are doing that or not, your words and actions can be used by the Holy Spirit. So, you must first examine your own heart. Is it hard, shallow, distracted, or fruitful?
The following are from my notes, with some added thoughts, that I took during the sermon, and may or may not be direct quotes. Either way, I find them meaningful enough to share.
- Hard Hearts. Consider the Pharisees. Be careful that you are not too concerned with holiness that you loose compassion and awareness of your own sin. If your heart is hard, and not compassionate…what will be the result? We only need to turn to Scripture for that answer. Read Proverbs 15. Think before you speak. Or post.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
2. Shallow Hearts. Do I even need to say much here? Well, you know I will…Following a path focused only on your own suffering is a very dangerous path. If your prayers are not ‘heard’ or ‘answered’ in the way you are seeking, you Faith with wain. So, you know. As long as everything’s ok, you’re ok. As long as you are getting what you want and think you need, God is good…you must know, that’s not how this works. Jesus is not a service provider. He doesn’t work in retail. Got it? He’s always there. Always hears you…always knows what you need. But, see, here’s the thing…it’s not all about you…it’s about the Glory of God, the spread of the Gospel, and the expansion of the Kingdom. Read Psalm 127. Do you want rest? I mean, REAL rest…and SLEEP? Let go of you and give it God.
In vain you rise early and stay up late,toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127
3. Distracted Hearts. We all get so easily distracted by SO many things. Especially in this world of immediate gratification and feedback, it is so easy to lose heart and get distracted when we don’t see immediate and lasting change from our works and efforts. Keep in mind, your focus should be on your soil, and your seed…that might seem contradictory to #2 above, but hear me out…of course your first focus is on God…this will take care of your soil (where things are planted in you)…this will also take care of your seed (what you are spreading). Take care, dear friend, not to idolize your own sinfulness. Pastor Michael talked about this parable in light of ‘How to Hear a Sermon…it put a whole new twist on this parable for me. Yes, we must sow…but we must also ensure that our soil is prepared to accept the seed. We never stop learning, never stop hearing, never stop growing in our Faith and Walk with Christ. Two verses that I found on this post speak to me on this topic. Isn’t it wonderful how relevant we can find the scripture to what we are facing today?
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7
For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7
From Pastor: ‘Dear unbeliever, I promise you that Jesus Christ is not like 90% of the Christians you known.’
He is so spot on. We are all imperfect. We are all sinners. We all fall short. Thank you, Father, for your Grace.
4. Fruitful Hearts. This one is much simpler in words, but so much bigger in impact. Are you producing fruit by scattering the seed that was scattered for you?
Rereading that note…makes me think back to so many years ago…so many different seeds were scattered my way. The ones that stuck, regardless of the condition of the soil…were giving, loving, kind, accepting, full of grace, joyful, gentle, usually disciplined, and SHOWED me what it meant to be a Follower of Christ. Not a believer. Not a saint. Not a sufferer. Not a martyr. A Follower of Christ. A real person, a sinner, a friend.
Oh, wait…the Fruits of the Spirit…yup. Read them in Galatians 5.
So, what’s the point here?
It’s not your job to do what the Holy Spirit does…and change those hard, shallow and distracted hearts. It IS your job to draw as close to God as possible in our human realm and allow Him to change your heart. It IS your job to sow the seed. God will take care of the rest.
Go in peace, go in love. I’ve listed below a few verses that Pastor mentioned for further reading.
Edit: After posting, I saw today’s Disover Prompt: Instruments…I love that. Aren’t we all Instruments of God?