Devotional: June 29, 2021
Other seed fell on the rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
Mark 4: 5-6, 16-17. NRSV
Writing during a historic heat wave, when we may very well break a record or two for heat, my mind was drawn to this parable from Jesus. In this great parable of the sower (or parable of the soils), the seed is cast upon a variety of different soils. Yet the heat of the sun seems to affect the seed sown on rocky ground more than the other soils.
Other soils are deeper, and the seed is more likely to put down deep roots, with which to survive during the heat of the day. Yet with the rocky soil, there is simply not much soil there in the first place. Consequently, the sun probably makes the rocks underneath the soil quite hot, drying up any form of moisture. A few degrees can make a world of difference between whether or not a seed survives or not.
The tragedy of the seed sown on rocky soil is that it began with such promise! The soil is not very deep, so the plant appears to sprout more quickly, perhaps ahead of all the other seeds. Soon though, the heat of the day cooks that little plant. Without being able to grow downward, and there being no moisture built up below, the little plant withers in the hot sun.
In the interpretation of the parable, Jesus likens the seed sown on rocky soil to those who begin their Christian witness strong, and full of promise. Yet, when the “spiritual high”, or “mountain top experience” begins to wear off, it is all downhill from there. Instead of beginning to work on faith roots, rocky soil people fail to put in the time necessary to fertilize the seed. They do not tend to the seed which has been planted in them. A good farmer knows that you don’t just plant seeds and then come back at harvest. Growing a healthy agricultural crop is like growing a healthy relationship with the Lord. It takes time and energy, but the results are so worth it.
This is a reminder to all of us that our faith is living, and dynamic. It is never static, yet it is always the same. Hopefully, all of us, each day, are striving to growing in our faith. The alternative is to wither, and to fall away, like the seed sown on rocky soil.
The good news is that when we connect with other Christians through a bible study, friendships, reading Christian authors, or through worship and fellowship, we are working to ensure that our soil becomes fertile. Getting to know other believers is a way of deepening, and enriching our soil.
When the tough times come, as they always do, we will have the depth, the perseverance to survive. Our Christian friendships will help to sustain us through the worst droughts, and the greatest struggles. Hallelujah! and Amen.
Special note: please pray for all of those in agriculture during this historic heat wave. We know that the excessive temperatures are hard on all living things, including people, animals, plants, and trees.
Living and Holy God,
I know that you created all that we see, including the plants, the animals, the fish, and even me, and my brothers and sisters. Keep my heart open to you. Prevent it from hardening to Your word, and Your grace. May I always seek to nurture my faith in You, especially by putting down deep roots by worshipping and fellowshipping with others. Protect me, and preserve me when times of trial come. I pray this prayer in the name of Your Son, and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.