It’s time to plant

It’s summertime in Nashville. Time for me to plant my flower pots that sit on the fireplace on our patio. These pots should have been planted already, but due to a hectic travel schedule, my gardening is behind this year.

I am not much of a gardener. I just don’t seem to have the knack–or the interest, to be honest–in working in the garden. Maybe it’s too hot. Maybe I just don’t know what I am doing. Probably a combination.

But I do love my flower pots and they add much needed color to our patio, so I plant them most years.

I will go to Home Depot next week and buy fresh soil, some flowers that the nursery has already started for me, some Miracle-Gro, come home and put it all in the pots, water it, and they will be so lovely. Instant gratification pots. They will grow more during the next few months and fill out, but I can have beautiful pots in a matter of a few hours.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could plant good seed in our hearts and yield results so quickly as well?

We know it doesn’t work that way. In Matthew 13, Jesus is in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and speaking to the crowd on the shore.

“And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:3-9

If we want our hearts to be good soil, we must prepare our hearts daily to receive the word.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Just as a farmer must carefully till the hard soil in his field so that the seeds will have good soil, we too must allow God to gently till the soil of our hearts so that we can plant seeds in good soil, seeds of faith and hope and love and trust and courage and protection and provision -all promises in God’s Word. And then we must sow, faithfully sow the promises of God into our hearts daily as we read and mediate and memorize and pray through Scripture. And then we wait with great expectation for the seed planted in good soil to produce a rich harvest in our lives.

Jesus, I pray that we will be faithful to daily allow You to till our hearts and prepare good soil and may we be faithful to plant Your word in our hearts every day.

A Day by the Sea

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.

Matthew 13:1

A day by the sea. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

But if you read Matthew 12, you see that Jesus already had a rather busy day. He started out in the grain fields with hungry disciples who ate. Then, He had to deal with the Pharisees about what was lawful on the Sabbath. Then He went to the synagogue where He healed the man with the withered hand. By this time, the Pharisees conspired against Him and planned how they would destroy Him.

Jesus was aware of this and withdrew from there, with many following him, and He healed them ALL.  Next, He healed a blind, mute, and demon-possessed man. More Pharisees to deal with. Then they ask for a sign.  He tells them about Jonah and the queen of the South.

Steve and Deborah Murrell, "Following Jesus"
Steve and I on the sea of Galilee

Like I said, Jesus had a busy day.

So now He goes out of the house and sits by the sea. He probably needed time to regroup. Pray. Talk to His Father. Rest. Be alone.

Guess what happens next?

Matthew 13:2 says, “And great crowds gathered around him, so that he got into a boat and sat down.  And the whole crowd stood on the beach.”

While the Pharisees were conspiring against Him, these people followed Jesus.  They wanted to be with Him, be near Him, and learn from Him. So many missed Him–another blog about that–but these people followed Him.

I want to be one who follows Jesus every day.  I want to “gather” around Him and listen and hear what He will say to me as I study the Word and pray.  Jesus, may we be like these people who followed You to listen and learn and draw near.