Can You Hear Me Now?
Written By: Torrie Slaughter
As the day continues from chapter 12, Matthew 13 opens with Jesus teaching a crowd. As they increase, I imagine people murmuring and shuffling about, trying to get a better view and listen intently. Our Lord recognizes the dilemma and takes to the water to improve the sound quality. (Matthew 13:2)
Let’s pause for a moment and think about the incredible experience it would be to have the words of Jesus Christ literally wash over us. Imagine the gentle waves of water lapping at the beach edge as His Words proved to be life-giving water to our souls.
Can you see the beauty of the horizon where the sky and water meet?
What’s In Matthew 13?
This chapter has eight parables, which include our focal point. We read the parable of the sower in the Gospel According to Luke & Mark. (The differing vantage points help us understand the richness of Christ Jesus’ teaching.) Our concentration is the parable of the sower. In it, Jesus explains the four different responses to the message of God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 13:18-23)
The Footpath- Represents people who don’t understand the message about the Kingdom.
Envision a person who has high moral standards but does not solidify their identity in Christ. They don’t find love, peace, or firmly root themselves in God’s divine purpose. Scavengers pick at their insecurities, causing doubt, greed, or more detrimental, wastefulness.
Rocky Soil: Unlike the first group, these people receive the Gospel with joy, but self desires lure them back to society.
Self-preservation takes precedence over sacrifice. The need for worldly acceptance becomes the more comfortable parallel instead of a challenging intersection. So, a shallow spiritual conviction creates excuses to move on to the next vision, repeating the pattern.
Thorns and Thistles: The message is crowded out by worry and the lure of wealth.
The Good News of Christ can take root, but the razor-sharp environment cuts the Gospel into pieces when it tries to expand. How? The power of evil chokes out the God-given purpose of the individual.
It’s easy to see the potential, and questions arise about why more growth hasn’t occurred. These people hurt those who come into their orbit because unresolved issues plague them.
Good Soil: The Gospel is profoundly rooted and abundant with fruit: ideas, creativity, interconnectedness, maturity, and massive growth ensue.
When that person sees the evidence of weeds (self-interest, narcissism, stubbornness, greed), they remove it at its source. They understand the plan. And what is that? To cultivate a nutrient-rich environment by enlarging the area for the fruit to thrive. God’s Word expands into little-known territories and produces new growth.
We, as disciples of Jesus, can test the fruit of our lives by asking:
- Have we cultivated a community of empowered people to pursue their purpose within the Kingdom?
- Do we employ individuals to build their ministries as a way of increasing Christ’s ambassadors?
- Are we dependent on a few ‘superstars’ who stifle growth?
- Is the fear of a transparent organization preventing plans of action?
What did Jesus Do?
Jesus saw a crowd and instinctively got into a boat to deliver His profound Words of wisdom. He used what was readily available with extraordinary results. We need not complicate the Gospel. Jesus enhanced the Word of God with His presence. He was sent, and we are chosen.
If you are chasing after Jesus and building a ministry or working with faith-driven individuals, let’s pay attention to what works. Let’s pray together to remove pride, preference, and insecurity from our hearts.
God calls us to move from the safety of the sandy beach and into His living water. Trust God to direct your path.
Torrie is a media ministry consultant who works with churches and faith driven organizations to build their ministry team. She is the Blueprint Specialist uncovering root problems to construct solutions. Want to hear more? Tune in and listen to A Daily Purpose Bible Study & Devotional a podcast by Our Given Purpose and on Fridays to Talking on Purpose with Torrie the Podcast. Torrie also hosts a YouTube channel of the same name.