This week in All-Staff Prayer our communications director, Sheena, brought the prayer focus. It was so good and encouraging so I wanted to share it with you:
“I have declared the word “Cultivate” my word for 2019. I want to cultivate an intentional life that is about serving the Lord for his purposes and growing what matters with him.
In Matthew 13: 3-8 (NIV) Jesus told a parable about 4 different types of soil:
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still, other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
The hard ground represents someone who hears and knows the right path to follow but chooses not to. They keep living life their own way. They have it all under control on the surface but underneath the surface, it is dry and immovable. The seed of God’s Word can’t sprout and grow fruit in their hardened heart.
The rocky ground is someone that has short-lived faith. They talk about wanting to cultivate what matters but they are more concerned with what others think of them than actually following God.
The thorny ground is someone whose heart is focused on gaining things of this world instead of things that last forever. They are distracted by things like money, pleasure, and status. Their time and attention are focused away from the Word and they end up having no time for it.
The good soil is someone who hears, understands, and does something about what God says in his Word. Their heart is set on something that lasts longer than they will. Their life is messy but meaningful. They are imperfectly perfect and covered in grace. Their life is faithful and fruitful. They are a cultivator and that's what I strive to be.
Which soil describes you? Maybe you feel like a combination of a few of them. Know that Jesus told us this parable to give us hope for the change ahead.
Last year my soil was depleted. I was like the seed planted on rocky soil, that springs up fast and quickly withers away. I had been rooted in fear. Fear ruled every part of my life. We made a major life decision because of fear. When everything began to crumble God caused me to rework my soil. In order to grow something new, I had to evaluate my growing ground. I realized I needed deeper roots and to trust God with my entire heart, soul, and mind instead of trying to lean on my own understanding.
God has poured grace on my fears. He has redeemed my dirt and given me nourished soil to grow an intentional life. God wants me to bloom where I am planted. As I grow in my faith and learn to love others and God well, my soil is being tilled and tilled again. Each time it has been broken into pieces, it is being prepared for new growth and for roots to run deep. Good things grow in the dirt.
My season of difficulty has turned into a season of growth. There is a popular saying that says, "She believed she could and so she did." God's Word reveals to us a more comforting truth, though: She believed she couldn't, so God did.
God doesn't expect us to be perfect. That's why He sent Jesus to save us—He knew we needed a Savior to be our strength when we are weak, to guide us, to lead us, and to take the punishment for our sins. Where you and I can't, He CAN. As a matter of fact, He already did that on the cross. There isn't a mess you or I've made that He can't make into something beautiful.
I have to constantly remind myself I'm not aiming for perfect but instead aiming for plantable. We don’t have to fix our lives, we just have to fix our eyes on Him. God is going to lead us one step at a time.
Through my season of cultivation I have been reminded of 3 things:
Seek His wisdom. Pray and ask for God to show you the way He wants you to go. He wants you to ask Him for help—and he loves giving it! 'I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you' (Psalm 32:8 NIV)
Ask trusted friends or God-loving mentors for guidance. 'Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed' (Proverbs 15:22 ESV)
To trust Him to pour His grace out over you
Thanks, Sheena for reminding us that we can change our soil, we are never stuck.
Working on my soil,