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Concerns, riches can stop God’s word from bearing fruit

November 10, 2021

Daily Scripture

Luke 8:4-8, 11-15

4 When a great crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from one city after another, he spoke to them in a parable: 5 “A farmer went out to scatter his seed. As he was scattering it, some fell on the path where it was crushed, and the birds in the sky came and ate it. 6 Other seed fell on rock. As it grew, it dried up because it had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorns grew with the plants and choked them. 8 Still other seed landed on good soil. When it grew, it produced one hundred times more grain than was scattered.” As he said this, he called out, “Everyone who has ears should pay attention.”

11 “The parable means this: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seed on the path are those who hear, but then the devil comes and steals the word from their hearts so that they won’t believe and be saved. 13 The seed on the rock are those who receive the word joyfully when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while but fall away when they are tempted. 14 As for the seed that fell among thorny plants, these are the ones who, as they go about their lives, are choked by the concerns, riches, and pleasures of life, and their fruit never matures. 15 The seed that fell on good soil are those who hear the word and commit themselves to it with a good and upright heart. Through their resolve, they bear fruit.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus told this parable, which drew on a common sight in agricultural Palestine, to show that priorities matter. His images of various states of heart and mind (soil) showed how each one affects our ability to hear and follow God’s word (seed). When we cultivate an open, “good soil” heart, he said, then “concerns, riches, and pleasures of life” won’t be able to crowd out the good fruit God is at work to bear in us.

  • What’s most important in your life? Who or what first planted “the seed” of God’s Word in the soil of your life? Can you identify concerns or interests that have become less prominent in your life when you’ve made God your top priority? Which of the four types of soil in Jesus’ parable (path beaten hard, rocky, full of thorns, or good—receptive) best describes how well you can accept the seed right now?
  • What are the concerns or interests that most often compete with God’s kingdom for the top priority spot in your life? What key choices have you made (or could you make) that open you to God’s work in helping you cultivate a “good soil” heart? What attitudes, actions, and values most affect to what extent you are “good soil” for God’s Word to grow in?

Lord God, the fruit you bear in my life is wonderful, and I want to be good soil for it. Give me clear vision as to what gets in the way of letting that fruit grow. Amen.

GPS Insights

Kari Burgess

Kari Burgess

Kari joined staff in 2012 after several years in the corporate world and served 9 years on the ShareChurch Ministry Team before moving into her current role as a Creative Project Manager on the Resurrection Experience Team.

She married her college sweetheart, Matt, in 1996 and together they love spending time with their two daughters and supporting them in their music, theater, social and academic adventures. Kari enjoys running with her neighborhood “crew” and hiking.

The message from this week’s sermon about setting our priorities and then aligning our spending and giving with our priorities is a simple but important point to consider.

I’d like to think my husband and I have been mostly wise with handling our finances over the years. We’ve gone through seasons of relative abundance and seasons where finances were tighter. We’ve approached things like budgeting and large financial decisions in a fairly logical and business-like manner-–What do the numbers say we can afford? Is the timing right for a purchase like this? How does this purchase affect our retirement or college savings? If we splurge on this (vacation or fun thing) how does it affect our obligations over here?

But if I’m honest, I’m not sure we’ve always thought about aligning our financial decisions with what we claim are our priorities: God, family, others and self. Our financial decision making doesn’t always take into consideration loving and serving God and His Kingdom. At times it is likely more pragmatic, practical and focused on our family’s needs and wants.

Don’t get me wrong. We prayerfully consider our giving every year to both the church and other causes we’re passionate about. And we are grateful for our jobs, very mindful of the relative abundance we enjoy and do our best not to take all we have for granted.

But considering this week’s lesson on the parable of the soils has given me pause. Am I good soil? Where have I allowed thorny plants to choke out or crowd out the good fruit I am meant to produce? Taking an honest assessment, when considering whether our spending and finances are aligned with our priorities, I can see where earthly concerns and earthly pleasures have crept in ahead of loving and serving God and his Kingdom at times. We have room to grow in this area and there’s no doubt in my mind that in doing so, we’ll bear more mature fruit.

Loving and merciful God, thank you for your provision in my life. Help me to always be mindful that everything I am and have is because of you and your love for me and work in me. Continue to work in my life, clearing my vision and my path from the “thorns” preventing me from being good soil to bear ripe and mature fruit. In doing so, may I turn my gratitude into generosity towards you and others. Amen.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.