4/4/16: How Does Your Garden Grow?
Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
Loving gardens but not having one myself, I have no idea what “silver bells and cockleshells” are, much less what flowers are being referred to as “pretty maids.” But over the years, this nursery rhyme has endured with talk of what was probably a very lovely garden. One of the most well-known parables Jesus taught is something of a gardening tale. It is about the sower and the seed. Repeated in Matthew 13:1-9, Mark 4:1-9, and Luke 8: 1-8, we see that this parable impacted these Gospel writers in a special way as well for each one to have recorded it.
The point of this parable discusses how people receive the Word of God (the seed). Jesus likens each type of person to a type of ground condition. First there’s the wayside ground. When seed is thrown there, the devil quickly comes and snatches the seed away so it’s not even given a chance to grow and make a difference. Then there’s the rocky ground. When seed is thrown there, they “hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away” Luke 8:13 (NKJ). Third, there’s the thorny ground. When seed is thrown there, the Word is heard and begins to grow, but the cares, riches, and the pleasures of life choke out the Word and no fruit is brought to maturity.
Finally Jesus speaks of the good ground. Of the seed sown there He says, “But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold” Luke 8:8 (NKJ). And when later explaining the parable to His disciples, He said of this seed, “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” Luke 8:15 (NKJ).
So how do we know that we are good ground? Easy. Is the Word yielding a bountiful crop in our lives? Do we see the Word growing in our hearts and then bearing fruit – making a visible difference in our lives and in the lives of those we touch? Is the Word changing us, making us more holy? Do we see the fruit of the Spirit manifesting itself in our lives – love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance?
Good seed sown on good ground produces a good harvest. So, how does your garden grow?
Africa Trip Update! What a blessing! A few donations have started to trickle in! Please consider sowing into this mission trip. Every dime you send will be used for the trip. Click this link: to go to the full request with instructions on how to give toward this amazing ministry opportunity!
©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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