How Are Your Ears?
Lord, as I read this parable, give me ears of spiritual understanding, discernment and obedience.
Consider: We must be prepared to let God speak and challenge the way we listen, even if it means wrestling with what he is trying to say to us.
"Hear then the parable of the sower!" (3) is a cascade of seven parables of the kingdom, one of five places where Matthew gathers the teaching of Jesus. "Listen!" We are being addressed by the Word of God. The parables of Jesus work in us as an event, each word a seed intended to strike with kingdom reality. We are not meant to have Jesus' words ricochet off us, lost to casual distraction. They will work on us sort of like the 101st Airborne, penetrating behind hardened enemy lines in France, subverting our defenses. If we listen from the core, Jesus will batter our bored and hardened hearts by astonishing and unmasking us, then leading into newness of life. "Listen...!"
Notice two huge things: first, where is it that God is going to strike our hearts? It's astounding to note that in all but a few of Jesus' parables the setting is not overtly "religious." They are all about life in the world: conflicts and cares, sending a wedding invitation, brothers who don't get along, a man who stops by the road to help an enemy, finding a lost coin, and a retired guy at the end of his life hit with the rapier thrust that he has lived for all the wrong things. It is in this everyday world that the grace of God is coming after us. This is where the great crossroads lie. We are not in some wrong place.
Second, so much of all this sowing seems a crop-failure. A mentor once told me: "If you are going to do Christian ministry, you need to develop a high tolerance for the unmeasurable." This is amazing wisdom, because God works the night shift, silently, mostly undramatically, yet with immeasurable power.
Apply: What are the times you can recall when serving Christ felt like a barren crop-failure? Does the grace of developing a high tolerance for the unmeasurable speak to you?
Lord, thank You for not leaving me unaddressed and adrift in my own unexamined wanderings. Plant the powerful seed of Your Word anew deep in my heart.