Saturday, April 25
Scripture: 2 Samuel 1, Psalm 140, Matthew 13
Matthew 13:20–21 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 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.
Jesus loved to use stories (parables) to convey the truth, and sometimes to conceal it—or better put, to make people think for themselves. Matthew 13 is a collection of several of these stories, including the well known story of the soils. A farmer went out to sow his field, and scattered seed across four types of soil: the hard-beaten path; shallow rocky soil; weedy soil; and good soil. Each soil represented a different response to Jesus’ message, as Jesus later explained privately to His disciples.
The rocky soil—“shallow soil with underlying rock” (v. 5)—represented people who hear the message and receive it joyfully. But because they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted.
There are people who respond joyfully to the message of Jesus, but fail to put down deep roots. Their faith is shallow, and doesn’t survive the heat when trouble comes.
This weekend we start a new series at Life Center called “Sturdy Faith.” It was inspired by this verse and these times. When the quarantine started and the church couldn’t meet as we’re used to, and our businesses shut down and jobs stopped, I wondered how many people’s faith would fare. Would they thrive or wither? I want you to thrive!
I’ve seen people’s faith shrivel under the heat of trouble. When they or a loved one gets sick or dies. When they lose their job or their marriage fails or their significant other leaves. When they face opposition or all the props are pulled out and they have nothing to lean on.
Hudson Taylor, the great 19th century missionary to China, wrote that trouble can get between you and God and push you away, or you can get close to God and it will push you closer. It’s up to you.
How is this trouble affecting you? Is it pushing you closer to God? Do you have a sturdy faith that can withstand the heat? Or is it pushing you away from God? Do you have a shallow faith or a sturdy faith?
Now is the time to put your roots down deep! Press into Jesus!
Prayer: Lord, help us to respond to trouble by getting closer to You rather than drifting away, by building a sturdy faith rather than a shallow one.