Called to be…good dirt or an active gardener?

I haven’t felt all too inspired lately.  Things have been so hectic this past week, I haven’t exactly had time to allow inspiration in.

However, a new mid-week Bible study began on Thursday, led by our Pastor, and it’s on the parables in the Gospel of Luke.  The first one we discussed was The Parable of the Sower.  Inspiration happened!

We began with discussing what it takes to have a successful garden.  Being precise with directions on how to plant the seeds and care for them once they sprout, making sure the soil is fertilized, and weeding were among the answers given.

We all agreed, in this parable none of those “rules” of gardening seemed to be followed.

When one reads this parable, one tends to assign roles to the different “characters” in the parable.  God or Jesus is the happy sower.  The path, rocks, and thorns are those who willingly reject the influence of God – you know, “those” people who will never come around, so why bother.  And then there’s us – the “good Christians” who are the nutrient-rich soil guaranteed to produce the fruit.

Mmm, not really.  And it makes sense.  Let’s continue.

First we were asked, what is the seed and who is sowing it so generously?  Is it God?  Sure, he’s the happy sower, but what exactly is the “seed?”  Is it us?  According to Luke 8:11b, the seed is God’s message.  Well, what is that?  To us it’s the Bible, but Luke was written long before the Bible was compiled.  Is it Jesus, the One sent to us by God Himself?

We were directed to John 1:1, as some interpretations of Luke 8:11b don’t say “God’s message,” but “the word of God.”

“In the beginning was the Word.  The Word was with God and the Word was God.”  So God is spreading God around?  What?

Yep.  God spread himself and his grace over every inch of this world.  Generously.  Indiscriminately.  In places doomed to fail and in places guaranteed to flourish.  But why?  Why would any gardener waste seed on a path where birds would eat the seed?  Why on the rocky ground where roots cannot grab a hold?  Why among the thorns where they’re consumed?

God is everywhere.  In third world nations.  In prisons.  In the places most people wouldn’t dare visit for fear of their own safety or health.  How can God’s seed possibly survive in these places?

We aren’t the good dirt with the bumper crop.  We are the caretaker!  The gardener!  It is up to us, the ones who know God, trust in God, and follow God’s message.  We are the ones who need to go to those places – sweep the seed from the path to the good soil; cut away the thorns and weeds; pick out the rocks.

It is not up to us to bring God to these places, for God has been there since the beginning.  It is up to us to follow through with God’s message of grace, mercy, and love – to all people.

Image Credit: LeightonAutrey.com

“How it is…and how it ought to be”

RUSH and God in the same post?  Borderline blasphemy from either side, perhaps?  Despite my three favorite (favoUrite?) Canadians being a “wee bit” on the atheist side of things, I, myself, find a lot of spirituality in their music.  Perhaps that’s what makes a good lyricist  – he sees things his way, but I can also see things my way. (FTR, no matter his stance on anything, Neil Peart is my hero. 🙂 )

Today was a disappointing day.  We’re going through some things in our personal lives that I won’t bore you with – pretty much because it’ll just sound like whining.  Our lives are not perfect, but they’re not awful, either.

I’ve said many times before to folks, the boys from The Great White North pretty much have a song for everything, and this situation is no exception.  “How It Is” came on while I was driving to pick up my boy from his Boy Scout meeting.

One thing you have to understand, the album Vapor Trails, from whence this song came, was born out a great trial in life Neil Peart had to deal with – the loss of his daughter in a terrible car accident and the loss of his wife to a broken heart nearly a year later.  See why I’d just be whining about my piddly problems?

I’m often bringing their music back around to my Christian way of thinking, and damn it if it’s not right.  This situation is how it is.  God’s trying to communicate with us here, and we have to be open to listen.  We didn’t get what we expected, but the answer didn’t change our immediate future – and what a blessing that really is.  It could have been worse, but it’s not.

So, I did my whining, asked God for the night to get over it, and I’m sure I’ll be better in the morning.

I do a much better job of putting things into perspective these days.  Earlier in our marriage, I would have lost sleep, given myself a stomachache or a headache, and dwelled on it for days.

Jesus said,Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)

Once we take Jesus up on his offer to bear the weight of our burdens, we’re free.  What a friend, what a gift he offers up to us!  We give it all to him so we can deal with it in manageable bits – and the best part, he stays with us while we’re sorting it all out.

The disappointments in life are “how it is”, but Christ’s love and care for us is also “how it is”.  And that’s how it ought to be.

Image Credit: WeAreThatFamily.com