Sunday’s Gospel reading was on the parable of the sower and the seeds, a story I’ve heard many times over the years. Sadly, it’s easy for me to “check out” when hearing something so familiar. The “been there, done that” culture has rubbed off on me, and sometimes I fall into the trap of noticing what is novel, while ignoring the tried and true. As the pastor read the parable aloud on Sunday, I struggled to focus as my mind wandered to tangential thoughts.
Suddenly, these words cut through my mental haze like a knife: “As for what is sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.” In that moment, I felt both guilty and relieved, like these words of Christ had just given me the awareness of my sin, but also the opportunity for redemption.
I think it’s easy for those of us who have been Christians a long time to compartmentalize some passages of Scripture as intended for someone else. In this case, it was easy for me to put myself into the category of the good soil, as I have already accepted Christ as my Savior and have walked with Him for many years. Viewed from this perspective, the other categories of soil in the parable refer to those people who don’t understand the gospel when they hear it or don’t persevere in it after the first instance of trouble.
But what if God’s Word is constantly being sown in my heart and the texture of my heart soil can change over time? I know I can’t lose my salvation, but what if I just turn a deaf ear to Jesus’ words for a while?
I think that’s what the Holy Spirit was trying to reveal to me on Sunday. With our recent move to Texas, my husband and I went from living in a 700 square foot, one-bedroom high-rise apartment to a 1900 square foot, duplex house with front and back yard. The items that once filled our cozy little Toronto apartment barely take up any space in our new big beautiful space. So, for the last month, I’ve been focused on trying to make this new place feel like home. I’ve been obsessed with finding nice, but inexpensive furniture and décor. We’re not spending lavishly; we’ve been frequenting thrift stores, yard sales and Craigslist. I thought by watching our money that I was acting responsibly. But Jesus cares about not only our actions, but even more about the posture of our hearts in those actions. I knew that all this searching and spending was stressing me out. But I didn’t realize that it had taken my focus off of God. Clearly, the “cares of this world and the lure of wealth” have been choking out Jesus’ words in my heart. I’ve been trying to furnish and decorate my home in the power of my own cunning and strength, forgetting to include God.
As I reflected and repented of this, I realized that some part of my heart didn’t believe that God would be interested in helping me find the right bench for under the window or in what I should put on the new coffee table. So, I asked God if He might care about what our home looks like. I think we both had a good laugh when I remembered that God is not only the Creator of mankind, He also the Creator of the environment we live in. He made Eden the perfect home for us, and He promises that our eternal home will be even better and more suited to us. Why wouldn’t God be interested in the decorating details of our home? What if He were delighted at the thought of helping us find and choose just the right items that will make our home feel warm and welcoming? Wouldn’t that reflect an aspect of His heart?
What a gracious God we have! I’m truly sorry that I forgot to include God in this project for so long! It now seems like such a waste of time, energy and stress. But now I’m excited to re-enter this project with Him with good heart soil, ready and excited to see how God’s contribution will change everything.