Saturday, 5 June 2021
Title: The Root of The Problem
By: Wong Yoke Ming
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
Jesus often spoke to His disciples in parables – sometimes – known as stories with intent. What, then, was the intent of the parable of the Sower which told of four types of soil which received seed (read: ‘life’)? Of the four types of soil, three were not well prepared. Where would such soil likely to be? Such types were surely along the fringes of the farmer’s field. The receptive soil can only be the soil in the middle of the field where the farmer must have spent a lot of time and effort tilling and nurturing in order that good fruit may be borne.
What then was this rocky soil? Immediately, we should understand that the rocks make it exceedingly difficult to retain life giving water, which would just flow down to deeper channels and out of the field. Secondly, the soil, we are told, is shallow and thus, makes it difficult to retain nutrients needed for good fruit to grow.
We should remember that the area around the Sea of Galilee, which was the setting for this parable, was rich agricultural land – it still is so today. The farmers, in the crowd and listening to Jesus, would immediately know the solution – prepare the soil to be much more receptive to plant growth.
There are two parables in this chapter of the gospel according to Matthew – one about the soils and one about weeds and wheat. In the former, Jesus did not explain who sowed the seeds whereas in the latter, the Sower of the good seed was the Son of Man. In the latter case, it was undoubtedly a case of sabotage (with the weeds). In the parable of the four soils, there was only seed mentioned, no weeds.
So, we who profess Christianity, need to ask ourselves how we have prepared our ‘soil’ (heart) to receive the word of God. Those who share the gospel need to ask how the hearts of new believers are to be ‘tilled’ and prepared. Quite clearly, saying the “sinner’s prayer” would hardly be sufficient, because the ‘soil’ in new believers would, for sure, be rocky soil.
Here is where we see the way Jesus told a ‘probing’ parable. The farmers would say that they would not sow seeds in a field that had not been prepared. In those days, most of the farmers were tenant farmers – they pay rent for the field, they would make sure that the produce would be sufficient to pay the rent and to give them life!!
Which then brings us to the point on evangelism – do we have a ‘follow-up’ ministry for new believers? An evangelistic ministry would draw non-believers as well as new believers!! Neither are grounded in the gospel – a well-founded ‘follow-up’ ministry must unquestionably be put in place.
We often see the parable of the Sower as a parable of four types of soil – we need to see that bad soil, shallow soil or thorny soil can all be remedied. They can all be tilled and watered with nutrients added so that the soil can receive seed and produce good fruit – then the yield would be hundredfold, or sixty-fold or thirty-fold. When the soil has been well prepared, the fruit would be of good quality; when the heart is well prepared and nurtured, the fruit of the gospel would manifest for the glory of the Kingdom of God.
Father, we thank You for Your Word; that hearing is insufficient, ‘doing’ is critical. When we share Your truth, we need also to act. James reminds us that ‘faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead’- so Lord, we pray that we will not show our faith through evangelistic outreach without completing the process to bear good fruit for kingdom glory. Amen.
星期六, 2021 年 6 月 5 日
翻譯 : 王靖端姐妹
我們经常把播种者的比喻看作是四种土壤的比喻，但我們需要意識到是，不管坏的 、浅的或長荆棘的土壤，它們都可加以改良。當土壤被耕犁和浇水，添加肥料，使它們適合被撒种并结出豐盛的好果实時，那么产量将是一百倍、六十倍或三十倍。当土壤肥沃时，果实的质量就会很优良；当人心得到充分的栽培和滋养时，福音的果子就会為荣耀神的国度而彰显出来 。