Living God, it is “in [You] that we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). I open my heart to You.
Read Matthew 13:1–9
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat story about spiritual things, maybe one heard in a sermon, has stuck with you?
This is one of Jesus’ most well-known parables. It must rank surely alongside the Good Samaritan, the lost sheep and the prodigal son in terms of popularity. And it belongs to a style of storytelling regularly employed by Jesus. Matthew, Mark and Luke have 46 parables in their Gospels; Matthew alone records 23 of them. Some of the parables are long sentences; others are more like short stories with a beginning, middle and end.
Jesus used stories to communicate truth. He roots his mes-sage in the everyday imagination of his hearers whereas we often tend towards ideas and abstractions. Having been in church leadership for more than 30 years, there have been many times when I’ve heard distinctions drawn between proper Bible teaching and telling stories. Supposedly, the former is something we should aspire to whilst the latter is flimsy, of no real consequence. Thankfully Jesus didn’t follow this maxim; he realized that people remember stories long after the propositions have faded from memory. So Jesus explains God’s ways by talking about farming frustrations, cookery, lost money and dysfunctional families.
Is there an episode in your life that illustrates the way God works his purposes out? Take a few minutes to remember the details or even write them out.
God, I thank You that You are a practical God who is concerned with the day-to-day details of my life.