My grandma was going to pay me $20 and all I had to do was weed the side of a hill behind her house. This was going to be my biggest payday yet. I was trying to earn money to go to summer camp. The week of summer camp cost $70 and after grandma paid me for weeding the hill, I’d only need $15 more to be able to go. The job was supposed to take all day one Saturday. I was only about 30 minutes into that job when I realized that I hated to weed. For the rest of the day, I struggled to keep at it and through mumbles and outright curses in my mind I tried to foresee for myself a future where I would never have to pull another weed again.

“The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)

The parable of the sower seems to describe four different kinds of people’s salvation (or lack thereof) experience; the four soils. Lately, however, I realize that the descriptions of what happens to the seed could apply to me at various moments or periods of time in my Christian life. There are times when the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth have choked out my fruitfulness as a believer, times when God has given me a seed of truth about his kingdom and I wasn’t even paying attention, times when I have received the word with great joy only to have my conviction about the message, or my commitment to change be short lived.

The goal of a farmer is to grow a crop and the farmer will tend the soil and scatter seed year after year. As an adult I find myself pulling weeds again around the house or the church property and despite my 9 or 10 year-old proclamations, not hating it. In fact, I’ve learned to appreciate the work. Preparing the soil before planting and keeping it healthy while the plants grow is a big job. What if we spent more time this week tending our hearts, the soil where God’s Word about his kingdom is planted. What if we dug out the rocks (ideas or false beliefs contrary to God’s truth)? What if the love of money does not win the fight for our attention? What if life’s worries were pulled from, instead of being allowed to grow in, and choke out our hearts? This job might be a lot of hard work, and maybe that’s partly why we keep putting it off, but doing nothing only lets more thorns grow and that keeps us from producing a harvest with our lives this season.

By John Riley
Junior High Pastor

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