Knee Jerk Devotional: May 4, 2021

Luke 8:1-15


He [Jesus] continued according to plan, traveled to town after town, village after village, preaching God's kingdom, spreading the Message. The Twelve were with him. There were also some women in their company who had been healed of various evil afflictions and illnesses: Mary, the one called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's manager; and Susanna—along with many others who used their considerable means to provide for the company.

As they went from town to town, a lot of people joined in and traveled along. He addressed them, using this story: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it. Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn't have good roots. Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop.

"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"

His disciples asked, "Why did you tell this story?"

He said, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom—you know how it works. There are others who need stories. But even with stories some of them aren't going to get it:

Their eyes are open but don't see a thing,

Their ears are open but don't hear a thing.

"This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won't believe and be saved.

"The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn't go very deep. It's only another fad, and the moment there's trouble it's gone.

"And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun.

"But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there's a harvest.

See, I told you we would get back to the gospels soon enough. Here we are and Jesus is doing Jesus things. He’s teaching and challenging and making people think. Jesus is the master storyteller.

This is one of those parables that Jesus explains for us. He helps us understand what he’s trying to communicate.

So, the question that is asked is simple: What kind of soil are you?

I want to be the kind of soil that that is “good earth.” I want to stick with it no matter what. And, honestly, I haven’t met another person that wants anything else. I don’t know anyone that has said, “Nah, I’d rather have my life be marked by shallowness, worry, and greed. Thanks though.”

Perhaps the real question is what can we do to develop our lives so that they are good soil? Are there things that we can do to avoid becoming people who are shallow, worrisome, and greedy?

As I think more about this, I am realizing that this whole thing is a process.

There’s little here that just happens. It takes some time for the results of the seed being spread on the soil for the results to show up. So, this is not a “get yourself together” to hear the gospel thing. No, this is, “Oh! I want my life marked by love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy! How do I keep growing in this?”

Honestly, I feel like this is the $1,000,000 question. There is nothing easy about maintaining our lives so that the gospel continues to grow and flourish. What I know for sure, is that as I continue to grow up into maturity in my faith much of it begins with a decision each day. As cheesy as it sounds, I am learning that I need to wake up each and decide how I’m going to live. That seems to be the starting point.

This year I made a commitment to “movement.” Movement of my body, soul, and mind. This has included a specific commitment to walk 15 minutes each day rain, sleet, snow, or sun. This commitment started as a “have to.” Now, it’s become a “need to.” I need to go walk. My daily walk is the best part of my day. It is a time to think, pray, process, listen to podcasts, listen to music, or just be quiet. Each day though still has to begin with a decision to walk. It’s an active choice that I make.

I think that continuing to develop our souls into the kind of good soil that will hold on to love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness starts in the same place. We start with a choice each day. Perhaps this is what Paul meant when he wrote, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” What we choose to set our minds on is the world that we see.

I need to start there. I need to start with making the simple, yet profound, choice to set my mind on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.”