Monday, September 24, 2007

Help them. Don't judge them!

I saw something in the parable of the Sower and the Seed that I had never seen before. The parable talks about a seed that falls on hard, rocky and thorny soil. The seed just sits on the hard soil and waits for the birds to eat it while the seed on the other soil sprouts and grows but eventually dies.

This parable is often taken personally, as in, I better clean up my act and work on having better soil. But what I saw is in relation to other people. When I meet someone who I can clearly see has a compromised faith, instead of judging them, this parable tells me that the clock is ticking and I have just a small window of time to help them with their soil condition. The question is...what can I do to help them develop their soil so the seed will not only sprout and grow for a time...but actually produce a harvest.

I see too many people come to church for a time and then suddenly disappear. Sure, you can blame it on the church not being perfect, but I think it often has something to do with the nature of the person. They come to church because a seed has fallen on their heart and they are stirred to seek God. But soon their troubles or personal distractions pull them back out of church and away from God.

Instead of judging the weak the church community can seize the moment, while there's still time, and encourage them in their faith - helping them address their issues of "hard soil", "rocks" and "thorns". It's that kind of understanding and encouraging community that I want to be a part of. How about you?

The Sower and the Seed

I had a great time telling the story of the Sower and the Seed yesterday. It was fun because I surprised people in the way I dealt with it. Most people hear the story and feel condemned for their bad soil. But I used my time to look at the good seed instead.

One thing that has always confused me about that parable is why the farmer sowed seed in places other than the field. I mean, come on, can we really blame rocks and thorns and hard paths for not bearing a harvest? What was he thinking? But the point here is that God plants his "seed" in unlikely places. Since God has unlimited "seed" he can "waste" it by sowing it in places that don't normally produce a harvest. It's a risk but a risk that he is willing to take.

The analogy is that God does the same thing with people. We typically share God's word with people who we think would make "Good Christians" and pass by the unlikely prospects...the poor, sexually immoral, addicts, etc. But God is generous with his word. And he's not worried about getting dirty. He'll mix with anyone.

It's a great picture of God's love for everyone. Now, if we can just learn from him! Read/listen to the sermon here.