Sunday, October 1

Temporary disciples

Scripture: Isaiah 61-62, Psalm 114, Matthew 13

Matthew 13:20–21 The seed sown on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21 But he has no root in himself and does not endure; when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away.


In the parable of the soils, Jesus describes four responses to the gospel. He pictures it as a seed that lands on four types of soil: hard, rocky, weedy and good. The rocky soil represents those who hear and receive it gladly, but don’t last long. They have no roots, or shallow roots, and when trouble comes, they fall away (give up believing and following). They do not endure—literally, they are temporary, short-lived, don’t last long. Temporary disciples.


Two thoughts hit me.

First, I thought of all the people who have vanished since Covid. At the start of Covid, I was concerned when we shut down church because habits are hard to build and easy to break. Lots of people broke the habit of coming to church and haven’t restarted. They seemed to think that they survived without church so why bother going back. Their faith was shallow; they were temporary. 

But it’s not just the Covid fallout. This is a perpetual problem—one-time disciples who give up, fall away because their faith was shallow, lacked deep roots. Which leads to my second thought:

How do we help people to put down deep roots? Obviously, it’s not enough to just come to church—lots of those folks gave up. I think that people need to be rooted in all of the following: deep relationship with Jesus, deep community with others, deep faith (doctrine), deep obedience, deep life change and deep engagement in mission.

Prayer: Lord, I love You and I want to be a disciple that endures—and I want to make disciples that endure. Show me how! I’m tired of watching people fall away.