Hear and Understand – a talk given at Burleson TX Community of Christ July 12, 2014
Read the story. Matthew 13:1-7, 18-21
( funny how today is the 13th and our lesson is from Matt chap. 13)
Why did Jesus teach in parables?
To get one to Hear and understand. To get one to think about the meaning of his words and how they relate to our lives. What kind of ground is good for seeds and do we need to worry about it? In the garden yes, but what about spiritually? Yes we do, because the seed will only take root in good soil,
read verse 7 again.
Spiritually speaking, what is Good soil? Those who hunger for God, those who want to serve others, children, those brought up with an understanding of scripture and the promises of God.
What about those who are hungry for food and shelter and alone? Are they good soil too?
I am not judging anyone’s ability to understand. But I am using certain terms for examples
and based on my personal experience with people in particular groups.
Skeptics, those who require scientific proof before they will believe anything, even knowing that in the past people have believed things to be true that were not already proven but were later proven, these are like the seeds who fell by the wayside: read verse 18 again.
What about agnostics, atheists ? These groups of people are like the seeds thrown onto stony and thorny places: read verses 19 and 20 again. From my experience, these are people who have been hurt by the church and/or Christians. Hypocrisy is like stony and thorny ground that chokes the seed that once sprouted.
I had a good opportunity to plant a good seed about Jesus with my son, but I feel I failed to do it well.I had many things on my plate. I was slowly developing a mental illness, and being a single parent, it was all I could do to work and keep house and make sure he got the education he needed.
Looking back I could say that during the times we spent together in playing games I could have taught him more about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but by the end of each work day, my mind was a fog.
My parents tried to help, they did take him to church and to camps, and he did learn some things, but because of some childhood traumas he has forgot some of the things he learned
and now questions all that we tried to teach him.
It’s a good thing to question everything, but he is raising his own child now and I so wish he had the spiritual assurity to be able to pass on to his daughter the things that my parents passed on to me and to him.
But I know we have a good and close relationship, and when he is of a mind to think about the workings of the universe, he will call me or my dad, depending on the topic, for a sounding board or for our opinion or some answer we might have.
Because of this I have faith that he is good soil, and he does have a root, and he will come back to the things he was taught.
Meanwhile I am grateful that he lets me teach Samantha about Jesus, and bring her to church.
Both of her grandmothers love the Lord, so she is getting an education from both sides of the family. Who knows, maybe it is going to be her job to lead her father back into the fold.
Sammie is receptive. Children are receptive and perhaps able to see what we can’t and hear what we can’t, like angels.Very young children have not forgotten where they came from.
Sammie tells me that she comes from the stars.
We also know that scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit wrestles with man, although we are told she will not continue to do so and one day will cease to do this.
But as long as that day has not come, there is still hope.The key is to develop and maintain a personal relationship, after all, that is what Jesus wants us to have with him. Keeping the relationships building and growing, leaves the door open for a seed to be planted.
Indeed just by doing this the seed is planted as a person watches how we live our lives and how we accept them for who they are, right then and as they grow, without judgement.
So we need to be on our toes, keep our own hearts open to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, become grounded in scripture, especially the words of council received in our faith movement.
LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND what we are being told!
Planting a seed is done when we work to ABOLISH POVERTY AND END SUFFERING.
Planting a seed is done when we work to DRAW THE CIRCLE WIDER,
BRINGING INTO OUR MIDST THE MARGINALIZED and DISCRIMINATED.
Planting a seed is done when we say and mean ALL ARE WELCOME AT THIS TABLE.
Planting a seed is done in RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS AND ALSO INTENTIONAL ACTS OF KINDNESS!
Planting a seed is done when we are watched by others as we work to heal the EARTH.
Planting a seed is done when we teach our children and grandchildren about Jesus,
and teach them that they are created in the image of the Divine, that they have that spark of Divine within them,
Planting a seed is done when we include the children in the work of teaching. When we listen to them and understand what we are being taught by them.
In the children lies our future and hope.
Be a planter,
sow a seed,
and teach a child how to do the same.