"Alright kids, I'm going to read you the Parable of the Sower. I want you to pay attention to the types of soil/ground that the seeds are working with. You'll have to tell me WHAT you think the ground/soil represents and what you think the seeds are. Ready?"
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." (Mark 4:3-8)"Alright you guys, what do you think the different grounds represent?"
Moment of silence as they contemplated. "Hmmm... I don't know, Mom."
"Well don't worry! Even Yeshua's apostles didn't understand so they had to ask Him what He meant by the parable. Here's what Yeshua answered them:"
"The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear and do not understand it, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." (Mark 4:14-20)"Do you remember how I told you that Yeshua came to teach the people the Torah of God, His righteous instructions, on how we are to live if we claim to belong to Him?"
"It's a path."
"What can you tell me about paths? Are they made for people?"
"Yes! And lots of people walk on them. You can ride your bike or run."
"That's right. If our heart is living to please people or ourselves instead of God, it will be hard to understand God's word... then what happens to those seeds?"
"Satan snatches them away!"
"Yeah... that's not very kind now is it? What about the rocky ground? What kind of heart is that?"
"Hmmm, is it sedentary rock or igneous rock?"
(laughter on my part) "I'm not sure... let's say its igneous rock."
"Is it like when God says people harden their hearts like stone?"
"Hmmm, that's a good question. Maybe it's rocky ground because when things get hard, like a rock, the poor seed doesn't last very long. Is it always easy to do what's right?"
"Why is it important to do it anyways?"
"Because otherwise we are disobedient and that doesn't feel good."
"Well I'm glad to hear that! Remember when we felt we needed to stop celebrating Christmas and Easter? Was that easy?"
"That was a really hard thing to choose. It made us feel different and alone, right? Sometimes God asks us to live a certain way or to do things that can make us feel different and alone from everyone else. And that can be really hard. But do we obey anyways?"
"But can you understand why some people, despite loving God's word like the seed that sprouted, would choose to not make changes because it feels too hard?"
"Yes, we understand because sometimes it is hard... but it always feels good after!"
"Again, I am happy to hear that!! What about the thorns? What's going on with that heart?"
"Are the thorns like when we want things? And stuff?"
"You're absolutely right. The cares of this world are the things of this world like money and things made by our hands. You know how sometimes it's easy to make having a toy more important than sharing it? And sometimes it can be wanting to look pretty... mommy struggled with not letting the thorn of being 'thin' keep her heart from bearing fruit for God. Or sometimes mommy worries about the bills instead of worrying about sharing what we have with others. It's when we love things of this world that can't be given to God, more than God. What happens to His word in those thorns?"
"What does 'get choked out' mean?"
"Let's look at our garden out the window... did we get a harvest?"
"The weeds are everywhere!!"
"Yep... it's hard to 'make fruit' when the weeds take over, right?"
"But now what about the good soil? What did that heart do with God's word?"
"It got some strong roots. What would happen if strong winds came or if it didn't rain for a while? Would that plant stay strong?"
"Not only that, but it made fruit for God's harvest, right?"
"Yeah! Like fruits of the spirit, Mom, or fruits like apples and stuff?"
"Good question... I believe the fruits of the spirit. Remember that God is not seen because He is spirit so His fruit are fruits of the spirit. Just like God is seen by what He DOES, His fruit can only be seen by what we DO, especially towards others. I can't put love in your hand, but you can SEE it when I treat others with love, right? I can't put patience in your hand, but you can SEE when I am being patient. Do you see the difference?"
"So God wants us to be like a tree for Him?"
"You got it. A tree planted by His living water bearing fruit in its season for His glory... fruit that make Him SEEN. Sometimes the fruit can cause more plants to grow! Wouldn't it be great to be a tree that can help more trees to be planted for God?"
"So what kind of heart do you want for God?"
"We want the good soil."
"Then I will do my best to teach you His word diligently. You will know to test for false prophets, you will be able to recognize why Yeshua says what He says, and you will be cared for by Him because you love Him. I cannot give you any greater gift than the promise of life through Him. I love you, my babies, and you are His little lambs placed in my care. I will do my best."
"Mommy! It's like you're our shepherd but with God as our real shepherd."
And this is where I choked up. I have envisioned standing before our Messiah and presenting Him my children, saying "These know their shepherd's voice... behold, your little lambs." He has trusted them in my care and it has been a painful process of letting them go from my protective grip and trusting His hands above my own. He will look out for them better than I ever could and having them know His everlasting word, keeping it in their hearts, is the only gift I believe is worth giving to them.
I have taught them "test everything... even mommy and daddy's words one day. If what we teach you is the truth, testing it will reveal that to you. If what we teach you is wrong, then you will have an opportunity to teach us!"
Today, I spent quite some time drafting another blog entry. When I was tucking Anika into bed, she asked if she could pray over me. I was so touched by this.
"Adonai, thank you for my mother. Thank you for the woman you have made her to be. A woman who loves you and teaches us about you. Help us to do your word and to be good. In Yeshua's name, amen."
"Oh my dear Anika... thank you for that. I'm sorry I was so busy on the computer today. I should have been more diligent in spending time with you guys. I was busy working on my blog and finding more verses to share."
To which she responded...
"Don't worry, Mom. You were being a sower."
Yep... water works over here. What wisdom is this? What grace is this? I am humbled by this beautiful and unexpected response! Oh how I have been blessed by these little lambs!! It is my privilege and honour to share their beauty with you. I praise Adonai for their hearts whom He prepared... I am reminded of Yeshua's words that we are to have faith like children. I see it through their eyes!
Without having to question our words and teachings, my children continue to teach me.
May you all be blessed out there. I pray that your hearts be handled by His gracious hand and made ready for His Word. I pray you grow strong, deep in your roots of faith. I pray that even if you feel weak, you trust the hands of the sower that love you... that you may yield fruit for Him who has given you life. Blessings to you all!!