We begin this post with a reading in Mathew:
Mat 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. Mat 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Mat 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; Mat 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Mat 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: Mat 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Mat 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Mat 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Mat 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Wayside ground: no desire; the seed went there, the opportunity for growth could have existed, but there was no market for being a Christian. Perhaps there is belief in a God, perhaps not but for whatever reason this person does not want to be saved. Often this person doesn’t even feel guilty about not being a Christian.
Stony ground: poor work ethic; this is a person that wants to be saved, but not bad enough to work hard enough to make anything of it. There are a lot of good starts, good intentions, and this person’s life is filled with guilt because they aren’t doing what they know that can and should.
Thorny Ground: lack of courage; wants to be a Christian, but does not have enough will power to stand up for what they want and should be doing. The cares of life could be: peer pressure to not be a Christian, or fear of going against the culture of their environment. This person has weaknesses of character and has cowardly tendencies. Good ground. Wants to be a Christian, works hard at it, and is strong enough to press on through environmental difficulties.
God is gently working with each and every one of us to be more like Him every day. The person that wants to be a Christian needs to cultivate their desire, and ability, to hear God’s voice. The sheep has to be able to hear the voice of the shepherd over the sound of the wind/rain/predator in order to be led to safety.
Think of the distractions that will affect a Christian and try to keep them from hearing the gentle, loving call of the shepherd. The storms and predators can be very dangerous to the sheep but if the sheep becomes interested in what is going on, and doesn’t recognize the danger, they could ignore the sound of the shepherd and get themselves into trouble.
The dangers of a Christian are two-fold. One is a spiritual danger, and the other is a physical danger. Many of the people that we work and live around do not understand or have even cast away the calling of God, and want the Christian to do as well.
They will bluster and threaten and make life difficult for a Christian, often so tough that it is easier to just stop being saved and stop making an effort to go to church because of that environment. The spiritual dangers are those temptations that surround us daily and cause us to want to make poor decisions and lose out spiritually.
The gentle loving call of the shepherd is very attractive when we are scared or lonely because that is what is feeling good at the moment. When we are feeling like getting into trouble, or feeling like giving into temptation, then the voice of God is going to be instead of a wanted, needed thing, it is going to be an itch and an irritation. But that is the beauty of our independence. We can grow to love that feeling that God gives when we are heading into a risky situation and when we exercise that good work ethic to avoid the temptation it will build on our faith and our determination to be good ground and be a good Christian.