Tuesday, February 07, 2012

120207 - Matthew 12.24-13.23 - Making real (fruitful) disciples

Tuesday SOAP: The Parable of the Sower is the key to the other Kingdom parables. (Mark 4:13) It's important to know what Jesus meant about good soil, about fruitfulness, about persistent belief in the face of trouble, temptation and persecution. We all want to be fruitful, and the Bible tells us how we can be, fruitful. It's not easy - involves hard work, self control, virtue, kindness and love. (2 Peter 1:1-10)

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S: But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Mt 13:23).

O: In yesterday's SOAP, I used the image of clay and wax - how the same sun that hardens the clay melts the wax. That's not that satisfying when it comes to human nature, I said, because we're ALL "clay" - we're all essentially children of wrath. This parable seems to go the exact opposite direction: it's not the seed itself, or even really the circumstances, but the ground itself, that is inherently "good." How can this be?

A: It's easy to reach this conclusion without an agricultural background. Good ground is not good on its own - it's "good" because work has been expended upon it. Weeds have been removed. Stones have been removed. It has been plowed deeply, disked to be broken up and harrowed to soften, in modern agriculture. The seed is dropped several inches deep, covered over and packed down to protect it from birds. It's fertilized to protect it against weed growth. To translate this to the evangelism paradigm, they've probably experienced struggle rather than ease. This is probably why it was the common people - the poor, tax collectors and sinners, who heard Jesus' word gladly. (Mark 12:37) Their life wasn't going just fine.

P: Father, please give me great discernment about how I make proof of my ministry. I want to be fruitful.

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