July 12

Matthew 13:18-23

“As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.” vs. 22

The interpretation of the parable of the sower in Matthew’s gospel shifts the attention from the seed, and it becomes the parable of the differing soils. As such it is an amazingly precise description of the four ways in which the Good News is received by those who hear it. Even a superficial look at today’s church quickly reveals those different categories. Some hear the word and just don’t get it–we mostly don’t see them around very often. Others love the message of forgiveness and love and initially respond with joy–but it isn’t long before enthusiasm fades and they join the list of inactives. Another group dominates the membership rosters in our congregations–they love Jesus, but they love other things too and those rivals offer more satisfying and time-consuming enticements. They’re still seen from time to time–but only at their convenience or when there’s nothing else to do. If these three were the only types of soil, the church would be totally ornamental and the fruit unremarkable. But Jesus points to another group, the ones who receive the word with joy, and who produce a bountiful crop. We see them too–they’re the folks who live simply and well, and who give themselves to being the hands and feet of Jesus. And through them the world is blessed!

Thought for the Day: Which soil am I?

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