I’ve always been confused by something. Well no actually, I’ve been confused by a lot.
But one thing is why some people seem to enter into a relationship with God but over time they fall away from the vitality of it. And others, no matter what life throws at them, grow stronger and deeper in it.
I’ve known people who started going to church and got excited about it. They made new friends, enjoyed the services, and found the messages engaging. So they got involved. Joined a small group, taught children’s classes, attended a retreat.
But somehow over time the excitement waned. They started attending sporadically. Found other things to do on Sunday morning. And eventually just moved on. Kind of “been there and done that”.
Add to that the ones who drop away when pressures hit. They don’t see God work they way they prayed. So they conclude, “This just doesn’t work for me.”
Through the years I’ve seen a whole bunch who tried out Christianity and somehow it just didn’t stick.
Yet the real problem I see? They miss the amazing life God offers because they never stayed with it long enough to truly discover it.
Frankly, I don’t have a clear answer for this dilemma. And honestly, I don’t have a clear answer for why with me it did stick. I was a most unlikely candidate.
Yet, as I continue reading a parable of Jesus that we started last time I see a clue.
A farmer is sowing wheat and he’s not particularly effective. He’s throwing seed everywhere. Some lands in the gravel beside the road.
The soil is shallow so it’s warm and has good drainage. The seed sprouts right away but when the sun beats down on it day after day it withers and dies.
Then Jesus explained it, “The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.”*
So how do we put down deep roots so we last? That’s the focus I hear most often from preachers teaching this passage.
Yet, I think that’s the wrong question.
See roots grow on their own. The difference is the soil.
So I guess the question for each of us is not about our roots but about our soil?
Are you committed to a church because you find it fun and exciting? Or are you committed to the one who can truly change your life?
And when the pressures ramp up are you growing closer to God looking for and expecting his answers? Or are you closing up shop and trying the next “great thing?”
We don’t control our growth but we do control our commitment to it.
When we’re searching to grow closer to God then the roots grow deep. And we’ll see the amazing blessings that flow out of that relationship.
What are your thoughts?
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*Matthew 13: 20-21 (NLT)
Photo Credit: Art Puree (Creative Commons)