Parable of the Sower [Part 2]

 
4 One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: 5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. 6 Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:
‘When they look, they won’t really see.
    When they hear, they won’t understand.’
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.
 
Newly born-again Christians come into the Kingdom only knowing how to navigate this current world.  They (we) are susceptible to loss from exposure to fleeting attractions that they had fallen prey to.  Christians mature by walking with Christ and over time learning several important lessons:
  • that the things that seem good to you may not good for you.    
  • Money cannot handle all of the problems of life
  • the LOVE of money is the root of all evil
  • Worry and fear are to be dissected and eliminated; they potentially can be crippling
  • No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.  I Cor 10:13  [NET]
 
This parable does not require much explanation but some people do seem unable to grasp how deceptive the cares, riches and pleasures of this life tend to be.  We can be deceived and ultimately live beneath our privilege as children of the King.   

 

Conservative Christians Stumble at Their God-Given Freedom

The Coronavirus COVID-19  temporarily closed down the world.  As spring arrived, huge sectors of the population became restless and irascible.  Young and old longed for contact with people outside their household.  
 
Unfortunately,  many “not grown-ups” habitually came out all over the country in rebellion against measures proven to deter the spread of the virus.  Now, conservatives and even churches have jumped on the dangerous bandwagon by holding services in close contact with others and without facial protection.  
 
It is unequivocally unethical for these “not grown-up” conservatives (or any other actors) to promote their right to act when their actions infringe upon the rights of others.  Your right to act ends there.  You are abjectly wrong.  
 
The prime case in point is the facial mask deemed required by most governors and corporations to protect others.  I agree that the masks are a nuisance, bothersome, and obstructive to breathing.  They are however, proven effective to restrict the contagion of this dangerous virus.  
 

What does the Bible say?

Being insistent upon your right to freedom as a U.S. citizen is not justifiable.  Might I remind you that your U.S. citizenry is secondary to your Kingdom citizenry.  As a Christian, you are a citizen of an impenetrable, everlasting Kingdom.  Your first allegiance is there.  
 
Make no mistake, you are free: ” . . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” [II Cor. 3:17b].  But, as it has been said, freedom isn’t free.  The freedom we have was paid for by Christ Jesus.  He is the victor with keys to death and the grave.  We are not free to simply indulge our natural desires, there is caution from Galatians 5:13
  13-15 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. [MSG]
 
We are to be submitted to those in authority:  Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.
Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live.  [Romans 13:1-5]
 
Another valid word for all who call themselves “born again”:
And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ.  [I Cor. 7:22]

All quotes from [MSG.]