Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm Full of It

The Apostle Paul admonishes us in his letter to the Ephesians to "be filled with the Spirit." (v 5:18).

What, you thought "it" was something else?

The "it" in the title is usually related to something that rhymes and smells. We say it about someone when they are talking nonsense or we think they are lying.

"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." (Acts 4:31)

I don't see a lot of nonsense there, but the disciples were definitely full of it.

In Mark 4, Jesus gives us the "Parable of the Sower" (title in the NIV); a story about four seeds that are planted in the ground (so not really about the sower at all): one falls on the path and is eaten by birds, one falls on rocky soil and cannot establish a root, one falls among weeds and thorns and gets choked out, and one falls on good soil and produces a harvest 30-100 times larger. (v 3-8)

When the disciples approached Jesus confused, Jesus explained that the seed is the word of God. The first seed is snatched by Satan before it can take root. The second seed is planted in shallow hearts and cannot survive dry spells. The third seed gets choked out by the worries and distractions of the world. But the fourth seed is planted in good hearts and produces fruit. (v 13-20)

The seed is the same. The only difference is the soil.

We can take a couple of religious extremes when it comes to the saplings produced by the seed. On one hand, we can rejoice for even the smallest leaf even if it will soon wither and die, counting it as "fruit" by adding it to our church rolls and counting towards our attendance. On the other extreme, we can judge the saplings that don't survive as if something is wrong with them.

Both are obviously wrong. The young sapling didn't choose where it would be planted- it is the product of its environment. There is no such thing as a bad seed. And both extremes fail to do anything to help that young sapling.

Who will pull the weeds and cut back the thorns in a Christian's life to help him or her grow strong? Who will till and break up the hard soil so that the Word of God can establish deep roots that can survive any draught?

Like I said, I'm full of it. Sometimes "it" smells. You know what "it" is? Fertilizer.

I look at the role I play in my church family as "the guy who spreads the fertilizer". I focus on teaching- spreading "it" around in marriages, parenting, friendships, hermeneutics, theology, and on and on. My heart aches for the shallow roots, fearful of the day when the sun beats them down. So I keep "laying it on thick".

Paul told the Corinthian church that he plants seed while Apollos waters it. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9) Some of us are planters, some are waterers. Some are even weed whackers. And some of us smell like fertilizer.

(I ask for your continued prayers as my teaching ministry is beginning to take off at my church. If you don't see many updates here it is because I'm busy writing small group curriculum. And please pray for this bit of exciting news- I've been asked to preach a couple Sundays from now. Please pray that I don't stink up the joint too much!)


TC Avey said...

Great post, found it through Rick's blog, Planned Peasanthood.

Your post reminds me of the book, "I am a church member" by Thom Rainer.

Fatha Frank said...

TC, thanks for stopping by! We run in the many of the same circles but our paths haven't yet crossed, so I appreciate you leaving a comment.

I read Thom's blog on occasion and have (and read most of) Simple Church, but I haven't checked out this one yet (his latest, correct?). I appreciate his insights on what makes churches tick and consider him a valuable resource. Honored that my post reminded you of him.