When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out,
“Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” Luke 8:4-8
Hey friends, this week’s passage that we’ll be looking at church this Sunday is the parable of the sower and soil. I’m still praying and working through this rich story so I don’t feel like I have much to offer about it yet. But below is a wonderful devotional prepared by the Rev. Mark Roberts that can get us thinking and reflecting on this important story that Jesus tells. https://depree.org/be-good-soil/
What we usually call the Parable of the Sower is one of the more familiar parables of Jesus. It shows up in Matthew and Mark, in addition to Luke. But it is sometimes called the Parable of the Soils because Jesus actually provides more details about the soils than about the sower. Plus, when the disciples of Jesus asked about the meaning of the parable, he talked mainly about the soils, saying nothing about the sower (Luke 8:11-15).
According to Jesus, the seed sown by the sower is the word of God (Luke 8:11). The soils are the people who hear the word and respond in various ways. Some don’t receive it at all. Others receive the word with joy but soon it dies out. With still others the word is choked out “by the cares and riches and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14). But then there are some who are “the good soil.” They “hold fast” to the word “in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance” (Luke 8:15).
How do you respond to this parable and its interpretation? I expect, like me, you find yourself wanting to be good soil. You want to be soil in which God’s truth takes root and grows, producing a bountiful harvest. So how can you be that kind of soil?
According to Jesus, we are good soil if we “hold fast” to the word of God. We embrace it, seeking to know it, internalize it, and practice it. When tempted to give up on God’s truth, we grab on tight, even if it’s unpopular to do so.
A good-soil person holds the word with “an honest and good heart.” The heart, in the language of Jesus, isn’t just the place of feelings. It’s the whole inner life, our capacity for thinking, choosing, and feeling. One of the key qualities of an honest and good heart is openness. Unlike the hard soil in the parable, we need to let the word of God penetrate our hearts. We need to let it challenge us, instruct us, admonish us, encourage us, guide us, and comfort us.
Finally, Jesus says that the good-soil people will “bear fruit with patient endurance” (Luke 8:15). From the parable we know that an abundant harvest was produced from relatively few seeds (Luke 8:8). Yet, Jesus suggests, this outcome doesn’t come easily. Those who bear fruit must do so with “patient endurance.” Today, we’d talk about resilience, as Tod Bolsinger did in several devotions last month. We will bear fruit if we hang in there when things are hard, if we keep on seeking and trusting God, if we persist in hearing and doing the word of God.
As you consider Jesus’s parable, how many of the different soils do you relate to?
Which one of the unproductive soils is most natural for you?
Are you able to hold fast to the word of God? Do you receive it with an honest and good heart? Are you resilient in fruit-bearing even in the face of tough challenges?
Decide which of the qualities of good soil you would most like to grow in. Talk specifically with God about this, asking for his help.
Gracious God, I do want to be good soil. I want to be soil in which your word grows, sending down deep roots, being resilient in hard times, and bearing ample fruit. This is true. Yet, there is part of me that leans toward other kinds of soil.
So I ask you to help me. Help me to say no to the things that harden my heart against your word. Help me to say yes to all that helps me to hold fast. May my heart be open to your word. And, by your grace, may I be resilient in learning, embracing, and doing your word. May my life bear abundant fruit for you, Lord. Amen.
Benefit Concert for Ukraine
On Sunday, April 3rd, at 2:30 pm, our church will be hosting a choral concert in partnership with Redivivus Opera to raise funds for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. This concert will be free of charge and open to the entire community. There will be a basket in the back of the sanctuary where donations can be made. You can make the check out to “Care International” and put “Ukraine Emergency” in the memo section. You can also leave cash, and we will send in your donation to Care International.
The music will be an assortment of songs created by various Eastern European artists and musicians.
Easter Plant Sale
Easter plants are available for purchase. The order form has been up-dated, and orders can be placed in the collection basket, mailed in or left on the desk in the office. You may also call the office to order All orders must be placed no later than April 10th, and will be on display Sunday, April 17th. You may take your flowers home with you after that Easter Service
Good Friday: Tenebrae Service
We are having a Good Friday Tenebrae service at 7 pm on Friday, April 15th. We will be reading through the gospel of John’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion during the service. If you are interested in being a reader (we need quite a few!), please reach out to either Gretchen or Pastor Chris.
Easter Sunday: Traditional and Sunrise Services
We will be having a traditional service (10:30 in the sanctuary as usual) and a sunrise service on Easter Sunday. The sunrise service will be at 7 am and will meet in the prayer garden. There will also be light refreshments provided at the sunrise service.
Volunteers for Coffee Hour
We are looking to resume coffee hour in the near future. However, we need more volunteers to make this happen! Should you be interested in helping out, please connect with Grace Espeut.
Leadership Council Meeting
Our next Leadership Council meeting is Tuesday, April 12th, at 6:30 pm in the conference room in A-Wing. Also, the minutes from March’s meeting have been formally approved and are now available for anyone who wants to read them. You may email Gretchen for a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small-Group Study: “The Walk”
During Lent, our small groups will be going through a study based on Rev. Adam Hamilton’s new book called “The Walk.” Throughout this study, you’ll learn more about the spiritual practices that can help us grow closer to God and mature in Christlikeness.
Our Tuesday group will be led by Lynn Becker and held on Tuesdays at 1 pm. Our Sunday morning group will meet at 9 am on Sundays and be led by Bruce LaPenta. Both groups will meet in the A-Wing Conference room. If you are interested in being a part of either group, don’t hesitate to contact Bruce (email@example.com) or Lynn (firstname.lastname@example.org).