Week Fifty-Two, 2020
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11)
Everything living begins with planting of a seed, including animal and human reproduction. What happens after that varies along with other choices and events. Some, like the mustard tree begins with the smallest of seeds, but develops into a large tree. Others are stunted in their growth for a variety of reasons.
As we begin the new year, like this year, we will plant seeds, not necessarily the garden variety, but seeds that are more lasting and of greater importance. Jesus gives us an example, as He spoke of the scattering of seed in a parable.
“A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted.“
The disciples failed to understand the parable, so Jesus explained. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. He said then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.
The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.
As we go through the coming year, we will plant seeds of influence, relationships, witnessing our faith and many others. The important seeds are not those that lead to materialism, but those that change the course of the future. We plant them with our family, friends, co-workers and everyone we will meet in the coming year. We may never know the results of the seeds we plant. There is a saying: One sows and another reaps is true.
We will plant seeds by the lifestyle we lead, the words we speak and the effort we make to keep focused on our Creator. We must keep our minds and actions on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking and doing what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.
What seeds will you plant in 2021?
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
In 1992, Dennis Lee Curtis was arrested for armed robbery in Rapid City, South Dakota. In his wallet, police found a list of rules Curtis had written for himself – guidelines for his robberies. For example, he wrote:
▪ I will not kill anyone unless I have to.
▪ I will take cash and food stamps — no checks.
▪ I will not rob mini-marts.
▪ If I get chased by cops on foot, I will get away. If chased by vehicle, I will not put the lives of innocent civilians on the line.
▪ I will rob only seven months out of the year.
▪ I will enjoy robbing from the rich to give to the poor.”
However, the judge before whom Dennis Lee Curtis stood didn’t consult his list of rules. He didn’t say, “Well, at least you live by some values.” No, Curtis was judged by the laws of South Dakota. And convicted as a thief.
While Curtis’ behavior may seem odd, it’s no more different than folks who think they can live by their own standard and God will be pleased. People often compare themselves to others to judge themselves in a more favorable light. We may look at the things that we don’t do, to feel good about ourselves. I don’t commit murder. I don’t steal. I don’t commit adultery. I don’t get drunk.
Some folks excuse their bad behavior, their sinful habits, or their lack of self-control, by saying, “At least I’m nice to people. I help people. And I care about other people.” Yet, God isn’t going to judge us on the basis of what we don’t do. Or on a curve system based on the lives of those worse than we are. Or on our own value system.
While none of us will live perfectly sinless lives, we can clothe ourselves with God’s garments of righteousness. Excel to a higher level of living. And exemplify His holy standard in our lives. Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
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One person said to another, “I’m too busy and have too many important things going on these days to spend time with the Lord praying and reading the Word.”
The other’s response, “I’m too busy not too.”
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• All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
• 14% – Percentage of alcohol consumption over 30 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• It is the intentional promotion of the things we most value by removing anything that distracts us from it. He Minimalist
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
Western society was built on three piers: democracy, free-market capitalism, and consensual morality. The first two cannot sustain us without the third. Rabbi Johnathan Sacks
Jesus didn’t die for us. He died instead of us. Ken Whitten
You have to have a fixed reference point beyond this world. Victor Frankel
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. C. S. Lewis
Sometimes we all have to be reminded of God’s great love for us through Jesus, His Son. Marty Stubblefield
The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates
Whatever you fix your eyes on is what you will encourage; fix your eyes on Jesus.” Mark Parker