Thursday, April 21, 2016

How Growth Happens

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word.”—Luke 8:11‬ (NLT‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

When you read the beginning of Luke 8, where today’s verse is pulled from, you’ll find an eclectic group of people traveling the countryside with Jesus as He does ministry. In addition to the twelve disciples, part of the troupe includes some women—some of substantial means and some, at least one, with sordid backgrounds.

Here’s how Luke describes them: “Some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases . . . contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples” (Luke 8:2-3 NLT). These were women from varied social rungs, all following and supporting Jesus.

They’d been cured, healed, and delivered. Something life-transforming had happened in this small band of supporters. But even within this group of converted believers, there’s maintenance that needs to take place. Fruit needs to grow. Jesus uses examples from farming to make His point.

The Greek word for seed is sporos. The word sperm shares this Greek origin. Here’s the point about the “seed of the Word”: it impregnates. Gestation takes place, and, after a specific period of time, birth. Conditions must be healthy for good fruit to come from the seed of the Word. Later in Luke 8, Jesus describes conditions that cause this process to abort; to miscarry.

The soil is your life. It’s funny what just happened as I’m typing this up with my fat fingers on my tiny phone keyboard. I meant to type soil, but typed soul. This little mishap makes me think a little differently. Soul and soil work interchangeably in this parable of Jesus. Dallas Willard says, “A person who is prepared and capable of responding to the situations of life in ways that are ‘good and right’ is a person whose soul is in order, under the direction of a well-kept heart, in turn under the direction of God.”

Opposition to growth and fruit is always present. Always, always, ALWAYS. You can count on temptations and distractions to damage your soil—your soul. They’re always there. But along with that is an expectation from Jesus that it is possible to overcome what damages your soil and maintain a healthy nourishing environment for the seed of God’s Word to grow and bear fruit. What can you do to prepare the field where seed is sown? Do rocks need to be cleared out? Do paths for irrigation need to be dug? Do some weeds need to be pulled? Let’s roll up our sleeves and plow.

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