Is there any greater tragedy than when someone becomes hardened to The Word of God? If a person fails to let the Holy Spirit firmly plant The Gospel seed and the gift of faith in their lives, there are many things which can swoop down like those birds grabbing seed from hardened paths of life — the devil comes in the crushing cares of the world rejecting the seed one way and the tempting riches of the world scattering the seed many ways. People can get so far down in our depression and frustrations that we are hardened against God’s living Presence in our lives. People can become so enamored with what this world offers that they have no time for God and the life-giving Word of God. The Gospel seed never takes root and Satan takes advantage to pluck away their faith like birds swooping down to pluck up the seed lying on hard, unyielding ground before it has a chance to germinate.
Jesus continued - “Other seed fell on rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.” Even the most fertile Holy Land soil is in rocky elevation so tilled spaces contain underlying rock which comes close to the surface. The warmth of the underlying rock causes the sprouts to quickly spring up – but the hot sun burns through the thin coating of soil and even the healthiest of seeds die lacking the necessary moisture and nourishment.
Jesus said, these seeds are “the ones who, when they hear the Word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately they fall away.” To be that fertile soil our Creator created us to be, we must pay attention to the roots of our faith and never allow our beliefs to become too shallow – never fail to continue receiving The Holy Spirit’s nourishment for faith to take root and germinate – even when Christianity is not popular in a 21st Century world.
“Other seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.” After the seed is thrown and indiscriminately spread an ox drawn plow or flock of sheep crosses the land to turn the soil over the seed. In the early stages of growth, it may be hard to tell which the healthy plants are and which are the plants which will produce thorns - growing side by side in that field.
Life is like that - filled with healthy growth in Christ and with times when, as Jesus warns us, “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful.”
All of us have a share of tragedy in our lives. In our own lives and in the lives of those we care the most about. We all have those occasions in life when we find ourselves faced with setbacks, disappointments, illness, injury, and death. Without faith in The Lord of life, we can find ourselves completely overwhelmed---with nowhere to turn to avoid the thorns in life.
Most of us also have times of triumph - times when life's pleasures and embellishments are within our grasp - such times misused can be as devastating as the tragic times without faith in God and familiarity with The Word of God helping us to keep our balance to avoid the thornsin life.
“And other seed fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
They are “the ones who hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
This is what we pray for ourselves and for all of us gathered here today – that we may never impede God’s Plan to make each of us that spiritually good soil in which The Word God plants in us continues to germinate now and eternally. Jesus concludes His parable by telling us how to experience God making us that good, rich eternal soil God created us to be – “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
God has chosen us – God has given us life and chosen us to live that life as God’s Own now and eternally. As we pray at the conclusion of each worship service, may we always go in peace and serve The Lord – allowing The Word of God seed to continue to yield thirtyfold and sixtyfold and even a hundredfold in all our lives.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS - OUR LORD AND OUR SAVIOUR NOW AND ETERNALLY. AMEN.
Fifth Sunday of the Trinity Season
June 24, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio