When I am confused and finding life difficult to fathom, I find it helpful to turn to the Bible to try and keep my perspective. This week we are encouraged to consider Matthew Chapter 13 verses 1-9 and verses 18-23. At first glance we have the parable of the sower (1-9) and the explanation by Jesus (18-23), this suggests that we do not need any exposition because Jesus has done it already. The beauty of the Bible is that it is like a jewel held up to the light, the multi-faceted nature of the scriptures means that it has many applications and the emphasis can change according to the light of our circumstances.
In the light of feeling frustrated and confused when I read this parable my thoughts turned to the condition of the ground. The chances of being productive depend on the ground being prepared properly. Insufficient quality of the soil will result in a non-existent or poor yield. There are four types of ground mentioned, hard, stony, thorny, and good, and they all produce a different outcome.
I reflected on four situations in which I react:
If I am on hard ground my Mind is closed
If I am on stony ground my Mind is shallow
If I am on thorny ground my Mind is pre-occupied
If I am in good ground my Mind is productive.
Jesus implies in verse 19 that if I am on hard ground the seed (the message about the kingdom) is quickly snatched away because I am not prepared to open myself up to embrace the truth.
In verses 20 & 21 Jesus points out that if I am stony ground I accept the message about the kingdom gladly but by not removing the stones do not give the message a chance to be rooted and established in my life and the message is lost in times of trouble and persecution.
In verse 22 Jesus talks about the message being choked by the worries of life and deceitfulness of wealth which makes the message unfruitful.
In verse 23 Jesus explains that when the message falls on good soil the seed can be productive.
Which brings me to where I am at this moment in time, I am frustrated and confused with what is going on around me. I feel hardness, stones, and thorns which are distracting my relationship with God. I am aiming to try to break up the soil, remove the stones and weed out the thorns in order that I can feel and know that personal, intimate relationship that is available if I am in good ground.
I know that I am out of focus at the moment, instead of my perspective being shaped by the Bible I am allowing the stones and the thorns to have too much influence.
How are you feeling? Can you identify with the four types of ground in your life? It is important that we continue to pray and care for each other, it is vital we do not lose touch with God. I can remember reading an article with the heading ‘Who or what influences you?’ I will be spending the next few days evaluating and hopefully putting into place what I need to do to regain a true kingdom perspective, maybe it is the right time for you to do something similar.