1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!
18“Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
- What does this Scripture say about God?
- What does this Scripture say about life?
- What am I hearing in this Scripture?
- What am I going to do with this Scripture?
- Want to explore Scripture more deeply? Then check out our Exploring Scripture page!
When the people of God read Scripture together, then they can hear the voice of God and catch the vision of God’s kingdom together. Consider joining us in this daily Bible reading plan – a plan that allows us to slowly and intentionally hear the voice of God in Scripture together.
Tuesday, July 7 – Luke 2:21-40
Wednesday, July 8 – Luke 2:41-52
Thursday, July 9 – Luke 3:1-14
Friday, July 10 – Luke 3:15-22
Saturday, July 11 – Luke 3:23-38
Sunday, July 12 – Luke 4:1-13
Monday, July 13 – Luke 4:14-30
Use these conversation starters to talk about life and God with your kids, spouse, or friends during the week! A great place to do this is at the dinner table. There’s one prompt for each day of the week!
Tuesday: Read the Scripture passage together.
Wednesday: I hear God speak most clearly when…
Thursday: Has God every spoken a message to you?
Friday: I plant seeds of God’s goodness and love when I…
Saturday: Which soil do you identify with in the parable?
Sunday: What does it mean to be fruitful?
Monday: What have you heard from God over the past week?
This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture. As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time. As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time. As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.
Look at the image above. Think of all that has gone into bringing these corn plants to this point of development. They are no longer sprouts, but not fully formed and fruitful plants either. Yet so much has happened below ground and above ground to prepare them for a future harvest. We are much like these corn plants. There is so much in our past – a mixture of nurture and trauma and healing and care – that has shaped our roots and the foundational growth that supports our soul. We are tender and strong, fragile and resilient at the same time. Think for a moment about all that has contributed to your growth – spiritually and otherwise – throughout your life. How has God used the circumstances of your life to shape and grow you? Like the corn, our growth is also nowhere near completion – even if we have produced fruit in the past (which we all have), there is more fruitfulness in store for us going forward. God is never finished moving in and through us, producing healing and wholeness inside of us and using us to promote goodness in other people.
God is obviously the director and producer of the spiritual fruit in our lives. However, we have a role to play too. We are responsible for the condition of the “soul soil” God works with. This is one of the greatest gifts God gave to humanity and one of the chief ways we reflect the image of God – free moral choice. God wants to plant the seeds of spiritual renewal and growth within us, but if all we offer God is dry sand in which to plant, then we should not expect any growth. What is the condition of your “soul soil”? Are you offering God rich, arable, nutrient-rich soil to work with or arid, depleted, sandy soil? This can be determined by examining your motivations and intentions when approaching God. Are you open to the movement of the Holy Spirit or do you try to direct God into doing what you want? In what ways might you condition your soul so that it is receptive to God’s words and work?
Sometimes making yourself available to God means clearing out certain elements of your “soul soil”. What thorns or rocks are present in your life that prevent you from being fruitful or prevent you from attending to God? Remember that God wants his holy best for you – to produce within you the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the elements of a fulfilled, whole, godly life. Are any of these fruits missing from your life experience? If so, what is God asking you to do to prepare yourself for such a harvest? God wants to do amazing things within you and through you, to bring the plant of your life into full blossom so that it might help nourish his world. God will provide the rain, the sun, the nutrients, and the process – all God asks is that you bring the willing soil and prepare the environment.
Spiritual Practice: Holy Observation
I know it is hot outside, but chances are you have a plant of some kind growing outside your home – even if it is just grass. Take some time in nature and observe a growing plant. Look at how intricately it is structured and pay attention to all of the elements around it that contribute to its growth and fruitfulness – everything from the soil to the sun to the insects that pollinate it and use it for food. Especially observe how it is one part of a larger whole, a contributor to the ecosystem that exists around it. Wonder at God’s great, detailed, and loving plan for all elements of creation – large and small. Then consider how carefully God has created and sustained you and meditate on your purpose within the greater realm of creation.
Breath Prayer: LORD God, prepare our souls to receive your Word.