Readings

February 14, 2018

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Matthew 13: 1-23

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”


Devotional

When I was a child, my parents gardened nearly an acre of our property each summer, growing vegetables that would bolster the food supply for not only our family but also several other families who had fallen on difficult times and needed help keeping young mouths fed. As a little girl, I watched my dad hoe the soil, and then joined in the fun task of planting the corn, carrots, green beans, strawberries and more—and the not-so-fun task of carefully weeding all those plants.

 My mom’s very favorite vegetable to grow was potatoes!  I found watching the corn stalks sprout to be much more interesting, because nothing much seemed to be happening over in the potato patch. One day she explained to me why potatoes were such fun to harvest: because she loved finding a surprise with every dig of her shovel, after those many weeks of waiting and watering. As she gently turned over the earth where she’d originally planted just one potato, now there were 2, 3, 5 – even 7 or 8 new potatoes waiting to be harvested!  As her bushel baskets filled up with a healthy crop of potatoes to feed her family and friends, so did her heart—with the joy of the harvest.

 Are you raising children whom you hope will follow Jesus with their hearts and lives?  Do you try to “love like Jesus, where we live” through kindness and caring for your friends and co-workers, praying that they will see and experience Jesus’ love through you?  Ever get discouraged, wondering if God will really grow the seeds you plant today in the hearts and minds of others under your influence?  Keep planting, keep watering, and trust God with the harvest, all in his timing.  He loves those you hope to see grow, even more than you do.

-Polly Lott, Director of Ministries

 

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