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Seed on the indifferent path

October 11, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Matthew 13:4, 19; Acts 17:11

Matthew 13
4 As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path, and birds came and ate it.

19 Whenever people hear the word about the kingdom and don’t understand it, the evil one comes and carries off what was planted in their hearts. This is the seed that was sown on the path.

Acts 17
11 The Beroean Jews were more honorable than those in Thessalonica. This was evident in the great eagerness with which they accepted the word and examined the scriptures each day to see whether Paul and Silas’ teaching was true.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

People walked in the same places. That formed the path, where the soil was packed and unreceptive to seed. Scholar William Barclay wrote, “There are people into whose minds the word has no more chance of gaining entry than the seed has of settling into the ground that has been beaten hard by many feet.” * The people the apostle Paul preached to in Beroea provided a happy contrast, eagerly accepting the word and searching the scriptures each day to confirm the truth.

  • In the parable, the birds on the path were a separate reality. But all too often, what snatches away God’s message comes from inside us. “Some allow the evil one to snatch the words away at once. Most of us have experienced cynical and sneering reactions.” ** Parts of our culture seem to applaud cynicism as a major sign of intelligence. How can you avoid being naïve or shallow without becoming cynical and dismissive of ideas you haven’t even examined?
  • Methodism’s founder John Wesley urged readers to “To set apart a little time, if you can, every morning and evening for [reading the Scripture]…. It might also be of use, if while we read, we were frequently to pause, and examine ourselves by what we read, both with regard to our hearts, and lives.” * Have the GPS and/or other tools helped you make daily Bible reading a habit? How can you reinforce and deepen that habit?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, keep me open and receptive. Help me to believe what you’ve taught me, but never in a way that makes me rigid and closed minded. Amen.

GPS Insights

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas serves in donor relations at Resurrection. She’s a Boston native and moved to Kansas City in 2020. Her husband Blake is a provisional elder in the UMC and is a Congregational Care Pastor at Resurrection Leawood. Her favorite pasttimes include pottery, hiking, frisbee, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her daughter and their large orange cat, Tuna.

I find myself choosing a path most traveled confidently and often, as opposed to the well-known Robert Frost quote: “choose the path less traveled by.” Why? Well, many reasons. It’s typically faster. I typically have friends going in the same direction. Maybe it’s a path I’ve walked before, so I know the way without a map and don’t have to stop to ask for directions. I am a creature of habit. Even on our morning walks, my husband will go to turn left at the stop sign when I always turn right, and it’s jarring. Why would we go left? I like the walking route I take. I can anticipate the hills and I know how to avoid the sun being in my eyes for too long. I always make it home in the same amount of time. It’s comfortable and I can even be on autopilot when walking.

Jesus sure does love to challenge me with these scriptures. I wonder if you find yourself in my shoes today, walking the same path over and over again. How might we be challenged to find a path with soil that hasn’t been flattened, where we run the risk of not experiencing new growth? I am also wondering how this mentality could impact my interaction with Scripture. I tend to lean on the same verses, books, studies and stories when I’m looking for God’s word to breathe life in me.

Today’s Scripture reminds me how important it is to be open to what God wants me to experience. When I am more open to taking an unexpected route, I turn off my autopilot and can be in the present moment in a new way. Try to take a new path today! Maybe it’s literally turning right instead of left (even if it adds 5 minutes to your walk) or incorporating a different spiritual practice into your routine. I am praying for God’s peace to surround you today.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew—Volume 2 Chapters 11–28 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 60.
** Wright, N. T., Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 166). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
*** Found at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/notes.ii.i.html?highlight=set,apart,a,little,time#highlight