Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Good Earth

Again Jesus began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that

‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'”

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:1-20 
This time of year, as February comes to a close and the days are getting longer, I begin to seek out seed catalogs and make plans for planting. I think back to the things that grew well and those which did not thrive, as well as looking at the sun and shade in our back yard and researching what might do well that hasn't been tried. Then, it also takes time to make sure the soil is in good shape with the nutrients necessary for that specific plant. It all requires time and testing, failing and succeeding, and seeking advice from those wiser than myself.

Today we hear Jesus tell and also explain the parable of the good soil. Many of us, in our walk in faith, want things to be simple and easy. Folks often give up when the challenges overwhelm them. They might think God has abandoned them, or that they placed their faith wrongly. In actuality, faith takes time to grow, good soil, enough water and light, as well as the wisdom taught by others. We often want a quick solution, something we can google right now. We are invited in this season of Lent to lean in and breathe, into the time and testing, into the failing and succeeding, into the advice and knowledge seeking, for God is with us in this walk.

Today, I ask God to help me lean in and breathe for God is with me in the process. May we all lean in so we can be the good soil, the good earth, the people and places where faith can grow and God's glory can shine through us.

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