Time and again Jesus instructs his disciples and others in his audience to listen. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” Jesus repeats. We have come to understand that for Scripture to have the greatest impact on our lives, we must ask ourselves, ‘what does it mean to me?’ Where is it touching me most deeply? Where am I most affected, and perhaps made uncomfortable, by the Scripture passage?
As we ask these questions, we are better able to see how God might be a part of the situation in the text—and my situation as well. We are invited to have a personal encounter with the verses we choose to read in the Bible, a prelude to the kind of encounter that God wants to have with each of us.
Look again at the parable of the sower and the soils. Many interpretations have been given of the various kinds of soil, and even the sower and the grain that finally emerges from the good soil. But this time you are invited to make your own personal interpretation.
Scripture: Matthew 13:3-8
A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Residents of Haven House, a residential treatment center for addition, were asked to listen carefully as the story was read several times and then share whatever they would of the responses they had and the insights that came to them as they pondered at a deeper level what the story might be saying to them. All of them related the story to their own stories.
One man noticed that the sower lost a lot of seed but gained a great deal in the end.
Another suggested that we need to plant ourselves around a church family so we don’t wither.
Still another suggested that the thorns in the story represent the wrong people we associate with.
One said it seemed to him that to do good, one has to give up something to gain something else.
Another said we must prepare our heart in a way that we have to prepare soil to receive the good seed.
And finally one said we don’t know how our crop will turn out but we want to be good soil so we can produce a good crop.
What varied and insightful responses! And all from individuals who chose to listen to Scripture with new ears, and with a heart ready to receive and embrace.
What about you? I invite you to choose a favorite Bible story and sit with it long enough to let it say new things to you. I believe you will be enriched by what happens to you.
(Note: A number of additional meditations are available on this website under Meditations.)
Ann Glover O’Dell