“The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” Matthew 13:20-21
Jesus is the greatest teacher in the history of the world. It’s no wonder that crowds gathered to hear Him. He boldly spoke the truth with a perfect balance of compassion and tough love. He was a master at “weeding out” those who were not serious about following Him. One of the greatest ways He taught was through parables. These teaching tools help us to understand the deep mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
The Parable of the Sower is one of Jesus’ most well known illustrations. In it He focuses on three types of ground (representative of the heart) that seed (representative of God’s Word) falls on: rocky ground, thorns, and good soil. Today I want to focus on the rocky ground because I am convinced that is where many religious people are today. In verse 21, Christ describes such people as having no root. In other words, their faith is shallow and rooted in feelings and experiences rather than in Christ and His Word.
The person with a “rocky” heart will start out zealous. On the outside he appears changed…on fire for the Lord. But over time, when trouble comes, he falls away. There is a false gospel that says, “Come to Christ and be blessed. God wants you to be happy and successful.” Both of these statements are true, but only if we biblically define blessed, happy and successful. Many rocky-hearted people have mis-defined these words. You see, the world’s definition of these words and God’s are not only different, they are opposite. The Kingdom of God flips the world on its head.
In God’s kingdom, blessing includes suffering, persecution, and hardship. In God’s kingdom, happiness is not based on circumstances and can be found from inside a prison cell or in the midst of a battle with cancer. In God’s kingdom, success is being last, not first. It is giving away and not storing up wealth. Success requires selflessness and humility, not ambition and power.
Over and over Jesus encouraged the crowds following Him to count the cost of faith in Him. He knew there were many with shallow, rocky soil in their hearts. We must do the same today. Examine your heart. How deep is your faith? Is it shallow and rocky, joyously saying “Yes!” until trouble comes? Or is your faith deeply rooted in God and His truth?
Dear God, I admit that my sinfulness always longs for life to be easy and good. But Your Spirit helps me to see life from Your perspective. Please deepen my faith and help me to grow in Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.