March 20 – The Gospel of Matthew – Chapter 13

Read Matthew 13:1-58

Aww, Spring!  Nothing is better than the promise of Spring after several months of cloudy skies and snow.  When we think of Spring, we think of sunshine, baby animals and, of course, gardens.

In today’s reading, Jesus was talking to the people about something they were familiar with –  planting crops for a future harvest.  As usual, Jesus was teaching through parables (an earthly story with a heavenly meaning). By using everyday objects and activities to illustrate His message, Jesus knew the people would not only understand, but remember what He had said every time they work the soil for their crops, look at seeds, or pull some weeds.

This chapter is titled, “The Parable of the Sower,” but a better title might be “The Parable of the Soil” for it isn’t the sower or the seeds that change in each illustration, but the soil.  The “soil” stands for the human heart. It was the soil where the seeds landed that made all the difference.  If the heart of a person is hard and is not prepared for the gospel, the words will fall on deaf ears.  Sometimes the gospel can fall on an eager heart.  This person is a baby Christian who is all in for everything involving church and God, but, if they don’t take time to develop a deeper understanding and roots, they can be easily swayed by false teachings and their faith withers and dies the first time their faith is tested.

It is only the good soil, a willing heart, that will allow the Word to be planted, grow roots, develop strong plants, and then produce fruit and spread seeds so that others can become strong Christians too.

No story about gardening would be complete without talking about weeds that want to stop the good plants growth by taking over and blocking the sun. These weeds hide among the flowers. Sometimes they are hard to spot.  They might even imitate the flowers in looks. However, they will take over any unattended spot.  Some have deep roots and, no matter how you try to dig them out, they seem to come back and multiply.  Sometimes they are often covered with thorns and will hurt anyone who tries to remove them.

Some people are like these weeds.  Some hide within groups, waiting for their chance to take over the cause for evil.  Then there are the people who wait to see where there is relative calm and sneak into the hearts and minds of other people with half-truths to cause doubt!  They might spread their poison through untruths, gossip, or social media.

I hope you aren’t any of these weeds.  I hope that you are a sweet-smelling flower who blooms wherever you are planted and lets your love of Christ flow through everything you do! However, we need to not be so naive as to think that the weeds AREN’T around us everywhere!  We need to put on the full armor of God, even if it has to go over your petals. Then go forth and do some gardening for God! We need to pray that God will show us the hearts that are ripe for planting the gospel, reveal the weeds as they pop up and then help us to quickly remove them.

Pat Arnold

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