When our son K.C. reached High School, he learned to appreciate a long, luxurious, hot shower.
He would disappear into the steam for 30 minutes and eventually emerge with more wrinkles than a prune.
We would knock and shout and coax and scold, but he was deaf to our pleas.
His siblings were annoyed but the city water department was elated. I was nominated for customer of the year.
So…this is what I began to do. After allowing him ten minutes to lather and rinse, I would slowly begin to close the valve on the hot water tank.
Slow was the way to go, otherwise he would catch on. Of course, the shower soon became cold, and he would hop out thinking that he had exhausted the hot water supply.
I shamefully admit that I did that several times – but – it was kinda fun – and with the money I saved I was able to help him go to college.
Could faith be like that? We start off with a red-hot passion and eventually end up in a cold uncomfortable place – but we aren’t sure how we arrived.
There was a parable where Jesus compared the Word of God to seed and the various hearts that received it to soils.
There was the seed that fell beside the road, which was snatched up and eaten by the birds, and then the seed that fell on the rocky soil which sprouted but died because it couldn’t develop roots.
But the soil that concerns me is this one, “Other seed fell among the thorns, and they grew up with it and choked it.” – Luke 8:7
The soil was close to being right and the seed sprouted and was doing well. It was experiencing genuine growth. But the plant had competition.
Jesus explained, “As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” – Luke 8:14
Jesus suggested that the some of us are choked by worries. About what? I don’t know. For what do you worry? Is it the economy? Or perhaps you fret about your health. Worry is the antithesis of faith. Worry competes with faith and usually wins.
Then there are riches. God and gold. We want them both. But it was Jesus who said, “You cannot serve God and money.” – Matthew 6:24
The third class of competitors are the pleasures of this life. Like what? Like sleeping in on Sunday and skipping church or like giving our worship and money to our hobbies and our leftovers to God.
So do these soils represent the saved or the unsaved? The Lord really didn’t say, mostly because it is important for all of us to be receptive to the Word.
But here’s the thing. The condition of the soil of my backyard changes. At this moment it has been hardened by a draught. Then there are the fibrous roots of oak trees, that are making it impossible for the roots of my sod to penetrate and properly grow. And of course, if I were to let my lawn go unmown for a few months it would become choked with weeds.
So if the soil in my yard can change over time, how much more so the soil of my heart?
I, however, aspire to be the good soil. Jesus said, “But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance.” – Luke 8:15
…and Lord, if I am not there at this moment, please send me a cold shower!
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
All Scripture references are from the NET Bible ®