At church the past few weeks, Danny has been calling Christmas a "Rescue Mission," and I REALLY like that perspective! It's so easy to get caught up in getting Christmas cards sent out (which we declined to do this year), buying the perfect gift for everyone on your list, decorating the house, baking cookies, and sharing delicious meals with the people you love most. Of course all of those things are fun and give us an opportunity to celebrate Christmas, but I'm really making an effort not to lose sight of the fact that Christmas is a Rescue Mission. Jesus was born in order to reconnect us with God. Despite even our best efforts, we all fall short of perfection. It's just the way things are. However, acknowledging Jesus as our savior - the person who paid the penalty for our imperfections - gives us the opportunity to not only live alongside God day to day, but also to spend eternity with him. So again, Jesus came to rescue us from the alternative - spending day-to-day life and eternity apart from God. How lucky are we?!
I was reading The Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15) today, and it really touched me. It reads:
And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, [Jesus] said in a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold. As he said these things, he called out, He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
As I began to think about the parable and question its true message, I saw that the answer was in the next several verses.
...Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for awhile, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience."
Wow, is that sinking in for you like it did me? Throughout life, most of us have been exposed to God's truth just like this parable shares. Now the question is, which seed are you?
Seed on the Path - you hear the word of God, but you do not believe
Seed in the Rock - you hear the word happily but stray from what you know to be true when going through trials
Seed among Thorns - you hear the word of God but ignore its teachings in order to pursue what this world has to offer (money, success at work, popularity among others, etc.).
Seeds in Good Soil - you hear the word, and you bring the light of God into this world so that others who know you know that you love God.
I want so badly to be a seed in good soil, but I know there are times when I am a seed among thorns (ignoring God's word for worldly treasures that will never last or fulfill my life). I try my best to prevent that from happening by exposing myself to God's word every Sunday, by reading the Bible (I've been doing much better since I downloaded a Bible application to my phone), and by surrounding myself with friends and family who help keep me accountable for my behavior. I have gained so many friends at our church, and these people have helped me grow in my walk so much these past 3 1/2 years. Not only do they inspire me through the way they handle their own trials, but they also encourage me to live my life in a way that God intended for us to live. My point is, I hope to be a seed in good soil more and more often in all areas of my life: work, parenthood, marriage, friendship, in public, in private, and with family. There are so many people who have made such a positive impact on my journey as a Christian, and I hope each and every one of you know who you are. The gift you have given me this past year is priceless. I love you!