1. Let’s Introspect
In Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 Jesus tells the parable of the sower, explaining people’s response to the Kingdom of God. A farmer sows seeds, and the seeds fall in different places. Let’s introspect where we fall in the spectrum.
1.1. Seeds on the Wayside
Shallow rejection – finding excuses to not acknowledge the Creator, suppressing the truth, while claiming to be wise (Romans 1:18-22)
“People, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him… Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… They exchanged the truth about God for a lie…”
1.2. Seeds on Stony Places
Shallow reception, wrong priorities – People in the church, but not to deny themselves (Matthew 16:24), but for some perceived benefit to the self (using even the church for materialistic/superficial friendships, weekend entertainment, etc). They cannot tolerate persecution, difficulties, sacrifices, responsibilities, servanthood, etc as it does not suit their purpose. Beneath the religious exterior, there is no depth. The heart is still like a stone.
They dilute the seriousness of the purpose of the church and mislead others away from the focus on the right purpose/priorities.
1.3. Seeds Choked by Thorns
Started good, but got distracted by worldly considerations like comforts, security, money, enjoying praise from people while exercising gifts, positions, control, etc.
1.4. Seeds on Good Ground
God-centric, right-purpose driven, right-priority driven, bears fruit and produces a hundredfold, sixty, thirtyfold. They deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24). They make the world a better place through sacrificial love/responsibilities.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
2. Purpose-Driven Fellowship
Let’s be a fellowship of people in the fourth category – becoming Christlike, reaching out and representing Christ to the world and to our next generation – driven by the right priorities and right purposes, optimizing the available God-given time and resources for His purposes.