Sometimes, I wonder indeed... how often can we hear a parable or a sermon about a parable and still be open for the lessons to learn?
In my journey through the gospel of Luke I encounter plenty of well known parables and stories. Take the one about the sower and the seed for example, how often have we heard that one? And yet, I believe we will never reach a point where we know all there is to know about the lessons Jesus taught. The Holy Spirit can always shine a new light on old principles.
This week I was reading Jesus' explanation about the parable of the sower and I specifically meditated on this verse: But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop (Luke 8:15). A noble and good heart is considered good ground. Well, that's the point where we might want to run away. Me, a noble and good heart? Uh uh... well, not necessarily so. Thank God it is possible to receive such a pure heart (see Hebrew 10:19-22) in exchange for our sinful heart. But that's not really what caught my attention.
It becomes clear from this verse that good soil alone is not enough to produce a crop, the soil needs light, water and nutrition. Sometimes we are so focused on the themes 'seed' and 'soil' that we almost miss the other three important words Jesus is giving us here: hearing, retaining and persevering:
- Hear, it is very important to read Gods Word and to hear His Word. But not in a way of: 'nice sermon pastor, thanks', and moving on with life as we did before. No, we also nee to
- Retain the Word, that means we need to absorb, cling to, clutch, contain, enjoy, grasp, hold, keep in mind, keep possession, maintain, memorize, mind, own, possess, preserve, recall, recognize, recollect, remember, reminisce, reserve, restrain, retrospect, save, and withhold the Word. And, most important probably, we need to
- Persevere, which means we must not give up on the truth of His Word, we can not allow our circumstances to bring us off balance. The Word is not just something we read, it is something we LIVE on a daily basis.
In doing so we will produce a crop. And isn't that what should be the desire of our heart, to be more like Jesus, to bear fruit in our lives, to be a living gospel for other people? In this parable Jesus clearly shows us how a spiritual crop will grow, not by itself; but by hearing, retaining and persevering. So, throw away your remote control tonight and start reading, hearing and retaining the Word and make a conscious decision to persevere. The Holy Spirit will help you!