Friday, June 23, 2006

Tending to the field

3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mark 4:3-8

I was reading this parable the other day and realized something I had never realized before. When a seed is sown four things can happen. 1)It falls to the wayside and there is no growth. 2)Stoeny ground with growth, but no lasting effect 3)Throny ground that has growth, but no crop. 4)Good soil with growth and an increase. The conviction I felt as reading this is my role in this process. I am not just a spectator, but there is an active process in caring for souls and not just gravitating to those that can help me grow or who can serve me.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Do I go to the rocky or thorny soil and water it? Do I tend to that soil and help to cultivate it for growth? We are not just called to sow seeds, but also to make disciples. There is no such thing as a lost cause or soil that can't be redeemed. When you look at the apostle Paul, the disciples probably thought that was the worst soil possible for a seed, but because of God's grace he yielded an increase. I owe a debt of gratitude to those that poured their lives out for me and watered my soil. God does not need me to bring the increase, but what a privilege it is to labor for Him in this work.

This passage doesn't just have a context for caring for younger believers, but also for husbands as they lead their wives. Husband's must water the souls of their wives with the washing of the Word. What better way to love her then to help her know the true source and ultimate manifestation of love. There is no better place to lead your wife then to the one who loved her so much that He would die for her. When a husband seeks to nourish the soul of his wife then he is truly seeking humility as he seeks to decrease so that Christ may increase in her life (John 3:30).

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. Ephesians 5:25-29

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