Second in a series on the Parable of the Sower
I understand the frustrations of growing food. Between the drought and overly aggressive ground hogs, I am a frustrated gardener. I had such hopes when I prepared the soil and planted by seeds and transplanted my plants. But then the ground hogs went crazy. Suddenly they found ways to get through my impervious fence. Who knew they had ladders? Needless to say I was disappointed with the results.
I wonder what the Father feels when he sees countless would-be followers fizzle and fail to grow. They seem to receive the seed for a short season, but soon the plant dies without producing fruit. Jesus calls them shallow soil. Listen to his words! “Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.” (Matt 13:5-6, NIV) Then he explains: “The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matt 13:20-21, NIV)
What might make our heart shallow? After the initial blush of excitement over the Christian faith, reality sets in. God does not insulate us from trouble. He does not protect us from opposition from our enemies. For some our bubble is burst. We only tried following Jesus because we thought it would help us. We though he promised: “Follow me and I will make your life easy!” In disappointment we step away from following the Lord.
If you have been disappointed because of false hopes, let me encourage you to remove the rocks from your soil. Listen to the call of Jesus. It includes suffering. We should expect nothing less than the treatment Jesus himself received. It is in those struggles that we are purified. It is in disappointments that we learn to trust and grow in faith. May you be blessed with rich soil to receive the powerful seed of God’s word!