by Lilly Lewin
This week we are reflecting on Matthew 13 during our thinplaceNASHVILLE gatherings, The Parable of the Sower.
When you think of the Sower, do you think of a Farmer, or maybe a Gardener? or just a Flinger of Seeds?
Does the image of Farmer or Gardener change your impression of the Sower?
What do you know about Farmers? or Gardeners?
They work hard. They are aware of the seasons. They pay attention to the weather. Up with the sun. What else?
They are detailed, they spend hours looking at seed catalogues in winter, dreaming of what will be planted in the spring. They are generous with their harvest of vegetables or flowers. They aren’t afraid of getting dirty or having dirt under their nails. Both the Farmer and the Gardener care deeply about the soil. They both know the value of fertilizer, and know that pruning is necessary to make things grow well. They also know the value of good seeds. Healthy soil and the right seeds and weather bring life and good plants for the Farmer and the Gardener.
READ Matthew 13:1-17 in a couple of different versions. Listen to the passage, Bible Gateway has different versions you can listen to on their site. Allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. What is God’s word for you today? What is Jesus speaking to you about today? Ask, Listen, Notice what the Holy Spirit is saying to you! Really focus on what God has for you today, not all the things you’ve learned or studied about this passage in the past.
What do you notice that you didn’t notice before? What bothers you? What questions do you have? What does the Holy Spirit highlight for you?
Notice that the Farmer/Gardener is generous with the seeds! There is an abundance of seeds and they are lavishly sown. God is generous and there is an abundance. Consider where he sows the seeds. How does this make you feel?
READ the rest of the passage, Matthew 13:18-23 about the explanation of the parable. What do you notice that you haven’t noticed before?
Consider the Garden of your Life… Consider the Soil of your heart… what does your soil lack today?
What is your soil feeling like these days? What is the soil of your heart like? Are you feeling well tilled? Or are the weeds choking you? Are you feeling beaten down or filled with rocks? Talk to Jesus about this.
Are you well watered? Or are you feeling dry and parched, cracked and in need of rain? Or are you feeling over watered… from just too much rain? Too much information, too much social distancing, too much bad news? Talk to Jesus about this.
How are you a garden in need of tending? Talk to the Gardener about this!
Consider that it’s the fertilizer that can restore the soil and bring growth to old soil and give life to a garden. It’s the organic fertilizer, the crap mixed into the soil, that can bring good growth. What crap has fallen on you lately? How can you see it as good fertilizer rather than just crap?
How does your soil need to be restored?
What is Jesus planting in you in this season?
How can you watch for the flowers and God’s surprises among the weeds this week?
Are there artificial flowers that need changing into real flowers in the garden of your life? How do you need to be more real with Jesus? And How do you need Jesus to be more real to you?How are you comparing yourself or judging yourself and your soil today? How are you judging the soil and the seed responses of others? Talk to Jesus and allow his great love to flow to you and forgive you, and help you to forgive others.
If comparison is the thief of joy then Lord, help me to not compare my life today to my life 6 months ago. Help me find the Joy in THIS life, and in THIS day and to know that it is from you, and it is enough. ”
Nadia Bolz Weber
Find a plant, a seed packet, or some garden tools, or garden gloves to pray with this week. Take a closer look at these things. Hold them in your hand and ask God to help you see with new eyes what the Gardener, the Good Farmer is doing in your life! What is God growing in you? What is God using to dig out the weeds, or harvest the fruit, or to prune the plant so you can grow?
Take a walk around your neighborhood. What is God inviting you to notice in the gardens around your neighborhood? What seeds need to be sown there? What needs to be planted? Justice, Hope, Love, Friendship? Ask Jesus to show you? Pray for new eyes to see! and Ears to Hear what Jesus is doing!
What does it look like to grow roots and live out God’s dream in this place where God has planted you? ” Shane Claiborn
©lillylewin and freerangeworship.com