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“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

Tonight I want to share with you my thoughts about the Master’s “Parable of the Sower.”

Matthew 13:

“A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

Jesus, himself, tells us the explanation of this parable further down in verses 18-23:

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

So, first we must know what is the “word of the kingdom?”  If we do not understand the word of the kingdom, it is as if the evil one has snatched it away.  Jesus also says, the word has been sown in his heart.  So a man’s heart is the soil, or the seed bed of the word of the Kingdom.

 The word of the kingdom is the Good News!  I know, I know!  Everytime I hear the phrase “Good News” I think you must mean my personal relationship with Jesus leading to repentance and everlasting life, right?  

Well, that may be part of it, but I think it is something more.  We never really hear Jesus preaching that kind of “Good News.”  We typically hear him saying “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  Not an ENTIRELY different message, but certainly a different focus.

The first mention of the word “Besorah” (translated as “Good News” or “Good Tidings”) in all of scripture is used in 1 Samuel 4:10 when David 1 hears of Saul’s death.  The “Good Tiding” is a proclamation that there is a NEW KING, and that we need to hurry up and prepare the Kingdom for his reign.

How do we, servants of the Everlasting King, and citizens of the Kingdom, prepare for the King to return?  By following the blueprint of the Torah 2 in our lives, and getting ourselves in a community who is doing the same thing.  The Torah is the constitution from which the King will administer justice and mercy.

Why is this “Good Tidings of Comfort and Joy (comfort and joy)?”  Well, for me, knowing that the Torah, the teachings of kindness and mercy, will be the bedrock on which our nation will stand in the Messianic age….a standard which we all will both be able to follow and desire to follow…this brings peace, comfort and joy to my soul…a soul which is wearied by “relative morality” and “ever changing standards.”

I came across a section of the Torah in my studies a few months back that I think relates to this parable as well.  It is the concept that when a person borrows or rents something from another, he is a “guardian” over that item. 3 It is based on the law set forth by God through Moses in Exodus 21-24.  It describes Four types of Guardians.  The Unpaid Guardian, the Paid Guardian, the Borrower and the Renter.

As I was listening to a Chabad teacher (online) explain the differences between each of the Guardian’s level of responsibility for the item in question.  This led me to start contemplating what the Father has entrusted to me….the gifts and talents, my children, my home, the 24 hours before me, and then a light bulb went on.  What about my desire, you know, my heart…my very life?  None of it actually belongs to me.  I was born with nothing, and will leave this world with just that: nothing.  4 Nothing in this world, that is.  My soul on the other hand, it is not mine either, but it is something.  It is an item of value that is in my care while here.

Is my soul rented to me?  Do I know that my soul belongs to God, and I am “paying him” for use of it in this life with my obedience?  All the while holding Him 100% responsible for everything that happens to me, especially the bad.  This is like the seed on shallow soil, it doesn’t have a lot of root in the water (a symbol of Torah) and easily withers out and dies from the heat of the sun.

Or is my soul “borrowed” as in, given to me to fulfill my own dreams and purposes, and nothing more?  As a borrower, I know I must return my soul at the “end of the day,” but while the day is still long, I want to experience everything this life has to offer.  Like taking my buddy’s motorcycle out for a joy ride…weeeee!  This is like the seeds the fell along the path and the birds just picked them up and flew away with them….weeee!

Is my soul in my possession as a Paid Guardian?  Am I doing everything with a hint of expectation of reward, recompense, and payment in this life?  No?  What about the next?  Do I obey God because of His promise to reward me in the world to come?  What if He didn’t promise anything?  What would I do then?  This is like the seed sown among thorns.  The cares of this world (and/or the world to come) choke out the life of the seed and it becomes unfruitful.

On my best days, (which are admittedly few) I am like the Unpaid Guardian.  I begin my day grateful that God has given me breath, and 24 more hours of time.  I spend my day in fellowship with Him, and devotion to Him.  I give no thought to how my needs will get met, because I trust.  At the end of the day, I am just grateful to have been given another day to serve Him, and that He has been with me every step of the way.  This is the place I intend to stay.  This is where I belong.  This is the place where all the responsibility of the good, bad and the ugly in my life are His, and I am merely here to worship and serve Him.  To walk away would be death.

…You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God (Rom 6:22)

So, how do we go about cultivating this “attitude of gratitude?”

Step 1:  Start off every day thanking Him.  Before I even get out of bed, I say a prayer 5

Step 2:  No matter what happens, thank Him.  Car breaks down, say thank you.  Paycheck early, say thank you.  No paycheck, say thank you.  This helps me to recognize that even the things that don’t go the way I want them to, are ultimately for my best.

Step 3:  Keep a gratitude journal.  Every day, at the end of the day, I reflect on the ways in which I was a good servant (with a good attitude) and the ways in which I could have improved.  I am especially careful to weigh any major defects in my character, and journal about them.  Things like Fear, Resentment, Selfishness, or Self Pity.  I finish my entry with a list of 10 things that happened that day that I am grateful to Him for.  

My gratitude journal has been a source of intense humor, and encouragement over the years.  During seasons of spiritual “drought” I have been able to turn to it, and recall some of the stories in my mind, and be filled up by a well of faith that those experiences dug for me.  (And sometimes I giggle because I remember how stressed or worried I was, and it all turned out fine.)

How do you practice gratitude?  Do you have any tips you would like to share?  We would love to hear from you.

 

SASHYA CLARK is a Disciple of Yeshua (Jesus) who practices Judaism.  She writes, home-schools three beautiful children, and plays music.  In her “free time” she also volunteers for Holy Language Institute and can be reached at sashya@holylanguage.com.  You are also welcome to find her on Facebook, or follow her personal blog at thefringe2016.wordpress.com.

 

  1. another Moshiach, but not The Moshiach, Moshiach is often translated as Messiah and means “Anointed”
  2. Torah literally means “Teaching” not LAW as it is commonly mistranslated and denotes the wisdom and teaching from God as a Father to His children.
  3. for a more in depth understanding of this teaching please read http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/2794/jewish/Whose-Life-Is-It-Anyway.htm/mobile/false
  4. Job 1:21
  5. http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/692777/jewish/2-Modeh-Ani-Song.htm