Saturday, June 16, 2012

Preparing the Soil

Saturday, June 16
Scripture Reading—Mark 4:1-20

 Last Saturday’s scripture reading focused on Luke’s version of this parable of the sower.  I pointed out that the sower, like God, threw the seed freely and indiscriminately, hoping for a harvest.  But let’s think a little about the different soils on which this seed falls.  First, there is an element of mystery as to why after hearing the good news of the gospel, some respond and some do not.   The first soil Jesus describes doesn’t have much chance to bear fruit because before the seeds can even begin to germinate, the birds come and snatch them away.  Those of us in the Wesleyan tradition who emphasize the freedom of the will may have a hard time with this, because it suggests that sometimes people may not respond to the gospel because of reasons over which they have little control.  In the church growth at any cost culture in our nation and denomination, this first soil suggests that no matter how hard we try to make our message cool, hip, understandable, and relevant, sometimes we can’t dictate, determine, or predict what the results of our efforts of sowing the seed might be.  The other soils, the rocky ground and the thorn-infested, do suggest that we may play some role in our capacity to respond to the gospel.  As Jesus explains in the parable’s interpretation, who among us hasn’t had the experience of feeling like a dry, barren field when the troubles of the world or the hectic pace of life  make it difficult to see the seed of the gospel bearing much fruit in our lives?  The good news for us is that  with just a little effort to soften the soil and remove the weeds, often done through letting go of our failures and hurts or just slowing down long enough to let God find us, God will work in us to make us fulfilled and fruitful!

Thought for the day:  Though the initiative for our salvation is always God's, we can put ourselves in a position to receive God's grace by acknowledging our need and making ourselves available to God through prayer, study, worship, and service.

Prayer:  O God, by your grace, may I make room in my life for  the good news of your grace and mercy to help, heal, and strengthen me this day, and always.  Amen. 

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