Luke and The Lost
It is not easy to plant a garden. Randy and I have done that task for years. The seed catalogs excite you with the promise of a beautiful harvest. You can picture in your mind what it is supposed to be like when you do it. You learn quickly that the soil must be treated so it will have the nutrients your plants will need to grow. It must be watered if it is too dry. You have to get dirty from head to toe to make it happen. You learn that weeds will overtake the plants if you do not pull them up by the roots and get rid of them.
Then there is the wait. You watch and mentally measure every day to see if they are growing. You can’t wait for the first bloom. When you see it, you excitedly tell each other. Then you wait some more for the fruit of your labors to form. Finally that first green bean or tomato appears on the vine. By sticking to it and not giving up, more fruit appears, so much so that you have more than you need. The wait was long but it was worth it.
So it is with ministry. We begin the next chapter of Luke with this simple phrase, “He continued according to plan…” These simple words leap of the page for me this morning! What if Jesus had given up on us? What if the work was just too hard? What if He said, “These people will never get it” and went back to heaven without the work of the cross? But we know He didn’t. He could have, but he didn’t. He stuck to the plan…to save us from ourselves. He tilled the soil of our hearts. He pulled the weeds of evil that threatened to choke us…and He still does. With Him we are good seed planted in good soil. With Him we can bloom where we are planted, after dying to sin, and spread the seed of His love to others.
“But the seed in the good earth–these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.” –Jesus
HOLD ON…and continue, according to His Plan.
Luke 8, The Message
1-3 He continued according to plan, traveled to town after town, village after village, preaching God’s kingdom, spreading the Message. The Twelve were with him. There were also some women in their company who had been healed of various evil afflictions and illnesses: Mary, the one called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s manager; and Susanna—along with many others who used their considerable means to provide for the company.
The Story of the Seeds
4-8 As they went from town to town, a lot of people joined in and traveled along. He addressed them, using this story: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it. Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn’t have good roots. Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop.
“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”
9 His disciples asked, “Why did you tell this story?”
10 He said, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. There are others who need stories. But even with stories some of them aren’t going to get it:
Their eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Their ears are open but don’t hear a thing.
11-12 “This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved.
13 “The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone.
14 “And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun.
15 “But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.
Are you listening? Really listening? I can hear Jesus saying that to me this morning. Seize The Word! Hold on! Continue the plan. In Jesus Name, Amen
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14