Jesus told the parable of the sower who scattered seed which fell on varying soil types. Some fell on a beaten path that was too hard for it to take root and birds came and ate the seed. Some fell into shallow rocky soil and started to sprout but couldn’t get rooted deeply, and the heat overtook it and it withered and died. Some fell among weeds and got a decent start, but then the weeds and thorns overgrew the young plants and overwhelmed them. Only the seed that fell on rich soil and received the proper nutrients, light and water was able to flourish. It produced and multiplied. Jesus compares this to those who hear the word of God. The word is the seed. Only those who receive the word and nourish it, water it and are attentive to it will flourish and produce and be a blessing.

Scriptures
Mt 13: 3-9; Ps 92:12-15; Je 17:8; Ga 5:22-23

Verse
The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Ps 92:12-15) They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. (Je 17:8)

Thought
There’s a vast difference between people who go to church and those who are the church. Jesus never intended for his people to just be church-goers. He intended for his people to be the church which goes out into a dark and broken world and shines. Those who simply go to church (whether regularly or hit and miss) get a little fill-up for the week. They feed and pick up nuggets for their own benefit. There’s nothing wrong with that if it isn’t the end game. Those who are the church are planted. They don’t simply go to church to gather some good stuff for their own use; they love, serve, extend themselves to others, give and become part of the family that is the church. They flourish and when they go out into the world, they shed God’s love and produce fruit that blesses and influences a world in need of hope. How do you get good seed growing and develop deep roots? Good soil: Keep your heart open and pliable. Allow God to work. Light: The word of God is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. Water: Jesus Christ is the living water. He refreshes and renews your soul. Warmth: the fire of the Holy Spirit encourages and brings strength and stability to your life. In good times and in bad you will be able to stand strong, strengthened in Jesus Christ. As Jeremiah says, (see Scripture) “Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.” Life will have troubles, but deeply rooted and standing strong in Jesus Christ you will be able to endure and overcome.

Questions
Why are so many people, just church-goers? Do you believe that goers have a positive impact on a lost world? Why or why not? How does being merely a goer leave you in a shallowly rooted situation? How does true connection with the church help our faith? How has spiritual nourishment helped you when times are tough? How does being part of a body of believers strengthen you? How do you nourish your soul? What has caused you to grow the most?

Response
Examine your church attendance, both frequency and why you go. Are you just going and gathering or are you serving, sharing, giving and extending yourself to others who attend your church? How’s your fruit production? Are you having a positive influence for Jesus Christ among those around you (family, friends, work, etc.)?

Prayer
Gracious God, remind me daily of my soul’s need for nourishment. Keep me close to you and your word so that my spiritual roots will grow deep in you. Open my heart to your will and help me to be a blessing to those who need hope, help and encouragement. Allow your light to shine in and thorough me that I may be your church in a world that needs you so much. Thank you for your love, grace, mercy and patience with me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.