Sunday, August 31, 2008

Aug. 31, 2008 (Kevin Hiebert)

Kevin Hiebert concluded our fellowship's summer's series of talks on the parables by speaking on illustrations drawn from farming. In Mark 4:26, the seeds were simply scattered on the field by the farmer who is otherwise essentially absent. This presents an image in which ideas of hope are 'sown' and God then nurtures the seeds and gives the growth, suggesting that we can be wary of working too hard on our own in order to ensure that religion is spread and accepted, for God is ultimately in charge after we do the seeding. Matthew 13 gives a more expanded version of this illustration: the seed is scattered on four types of ground, some hopeless and others better suited to growth (the Gospel of Thomas also includes this parable but without explanation). Kevin shared with us a number of helpful ideas gleaned from a published sermon on this passage by England's most famous 19th-century preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (his 2,040th sermon). First, the seed was the same in every case (and was not changed for differing audiences). Thorns are natural to the soil and will be present throughout life, stealing nutrients from the soil (time from our lives or resources from better projects). God gives us a chance to receive the Good News and be fruitful, but the choice is ours. Eventually the weeds in society and in our lives will become conspicuous, just as the heads of grain on true wheat drooped under their weight but the false wheat's heads stand erect from having virtually no nutrition. "May God give us the grace to recognize the thorns in our lives and the wherewithal to nurture that which is good." [JEK] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday August 31st, 2008 using your browser's preferred media player.



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