The sermon on Sunday was about a parable in the Bible that is often preached about so as I prepared myself in church on Sunday looking up the scriptures and read the parable again, I wondered how God would lead our pastor, Jennifer Holz into sharing something new and fresh about this passage. Interestingly, it started with that question that she thought to herself as she was preparing this sermon: Does the sower scatter the seeds intentionally? Whoa, I thought this is going to be more than I was expecting. Thank you God! This parable is often taught to show us the possible soils that we are in and how we have to prepare the soil of our soul to receive the Word of God. But her question led us down the trail of looking not so much at the soil and our own hearts but at the heart of God. She shared an example of how her and her two daughters worked at preparing some soil to plant grass. They raked and watered and had it ready to go. They spread the seeds in this soil. They weren't going to spread grass seeds on the sidewalk or in the rocks. So why would God scatter seeds just anywhere? My first thought was simply because He can but the pastor elaborated further with the fact that God's abundance is unlimited. His seeds may fall on a path that has been trampled on and packed in by life's struggle, falls into the rocky soil that does not get enough water to nourish it, or falls into the field where weeds take over and choke the plant or into the soil that is ready to receive it; but in all cases God has a purpose. So, yes, it is better to be prepared, be the soil that is ready to receive God's Word and yet there is hope in that God has a purpose for us even when our soil is not prepared and ready. The pastors simple question was the beginning of readying the soil. She learned 4 words to help remember what it takes to keep preparing the soil of our heart and soul, to cultivate a space to grow:
1. Inspired---what about what you read in the Word inspires you?
2. Inquire---what questions do you have? none are too small or insignificant and all can lead to a closer connection to our Father.
3. Irk---what about what you have read in the Bible irks you? it's okay to be irked, frustrated or angry. Talk to God about it.
4. Require---what is God asking me to do? What changes need to be made within me?
Lord, we thank you for the gift of Your Word and we are sorry we are not always ready to receive it. We are thankful that in your greatness you get that we will fail at this again and again and that you still will use it for your purpose. Help us to be more ready, to cultivate the soil of our souls that we may grow more and produce more fruit that brings you glory. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.