July 21st, 2009 | Posted in » Christian Living, Devotions / Bible Studies
I know. Controversial title. Bear with me, I get to the conclusion of that statement in a bit.
4While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable 5“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked tte plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Have you heard this parable before? If you’ve been a follower of Christ for long, probably so.
The meaning is pretty straightforward, of course, in fact explained by Jesus in Luke 8:11-15… the seed is God’s word, and the soil types represent people who respond differently to the gospel.
But I have a question (leading to a larger point)… why parables? Why not, as we try so often to do so in today’s churches, simpliify the teaching and get straight to the point? Isn’t is possible Jesus lost some people because they simple didn’t get it?
And why teachings like the following?
57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”
62Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Seems harsh, doesn’t it? Drop everything, follow me. Don’t worry about burying your dead father. Don’t worry about saying goodbye to your family. Just come, follow me.
Is it possible that, as Francis Chan writes in “Crazy Love”,
“… He just wasn’t interested in those who fake it.”
Put differently… Jesus doesn’t want followers that go through the motions.
He wants followers that are serious about their faith, willing to give everything to follow Him. He wants followers that take heed of His words and His teachings and put them into practice in their lives. He wants the kind of followers whom most Christians today would consider “radical” believers… the kind of followers most of us tend to believe either don’t really exist, or whome are so rare you’ll only meet a few in each lifetime.
I don’t know about you, but when I read through the Bible, I find far too many teachings I know to be true… teachings I know I should embrace… yet ones I ignore either completely, or at best, obey only occasionally.
You see, more often than not, our lives aren’t characterized in the parable of the sower as we’d like. We’re not good soil. We’re soil full of thorns… our lives are full of things that distract us from the truth of God’s word. We’re scared to walk by faith, so we structure our lives so we don’t need it. We live in comfortable little bubbles… mostly isolated from real difficulty… almost wholly insulated from the world God wants us to engage and bring His hope to. We’re terrified of living lives filled with the joy and meaning that can only come from doing that which is most uncomfortable to us… following God wholeheartedly.
Think about this statement again… Jesus doesn’t want followers that go through the motions.
Are you tired of faking it?