Matthew 13:18-23 The Message
I have often read the parable of the sower in Matthew and applied it to that moment when a person first hears about the hope found in Jesus and makes a decision to follow Him, but this morning as I was reading, I got something else as well.
Matthew 13:18 (MSG) tells us the first seed the farmer scatters on the road refers to someone hearing the good news, but the revelation remains on the surface and doesn’t go any deeper. The second seed is cast in the gravel, this seed is responded to with instant enthusiasm, but there is no soil of character to maintain the growth into maturity. The 3rd seed is my focus today; let’s take a look at verse 22 in The Message:
22"The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.
I think it’s easy and so common for believers to be strangled in the weeds. We can begin our journey with bright eyes and clear hearts, completely unhindered and free, but somewhere along the line for some reason, our new life in Christ which is a plant growing from a seed, gets caught up in the weeds, and strangled. When a plant is strangled by weeds it’s growth is hindered, it can’t become the stately, life giving tree it was designed and intended to be.
Often in the pursuit of building God’s kingdom, being a person of influence, being successful in life and doing the work of the ministry, the weeds sneak up and before you know it, you can’t breathe.
This verse talks about weeds of worry and weeds of illusion.
When our focus subtly and gradually shifts from the face of Christ, His grace and love, and leans toward illusions and worries about “getting more and wanting everything under the sun” – often in the name of Jesus of course and for the growth of His Kingdom and influence on the earth – that’s the moment when we can easily get strangled and as the scripture says, the ironic result of this lifestyle is that “nothing comes of it”.
When we try to hold onto life we lose life.
Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? Yes Miss Morrisette, I really do think.
So, where is that balance? I don’t want to be a boring, dull, non-influential, unsuccessful Christian, but I also don’t want to get caught in the weeds and have “nothing come of it” all.
The next verse straightens things out for us and tells us how we can “produce a harvest beyond (our) wildest dreams” with seed no.4:
23"The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams."
We need to hear, take in and then “Produce a harvest beyond (our) wildest dreams”. Let’s not forget to “take in” what we’ve heard. The NIV uses the word “understand it”. Seed number 4 is the only seed that hears and then “understands”.
Understanding comes from focus, time invested, thinking things through, meditating on His word and time spent in prayer. Understanding is a process in which our mind is renewed to a Godly perspective, and our worries and illusions dissipate. Understanding prevents us from getting strangled in the weeds of worry and illusion and then “produces a harvest beyond our wildest dreams”.
2 Peter 3:17-18 "But you, friends, are well-warned. Be on guard lest you lose your footing and get swept off your feet … Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes!"
Our desire is to see a community of people across New York understand this news and apply to their lives in such a way that it produces a harvest beyond their wildest dreams, for the blessing of New York and the Glory of God.