Do you ever think of the things that go wonderfully in life financially and with your career, and think wow I must be living right for the Lord to bless me this way? Conversely when there seems to be more bad things happening to you with money, do you wonder if God is punishing you? Not to say we might be enjoying blessing or consequences for our actions, but perhaps something else might be going on. I think that many Americans have a performance mind-set, and look at their life through the lense of accomplishments and winning.
Consider the Parable of the Sower found in Luke 8:4-15
As a large crowd was gathering, and people were flocking to Him from every town, He said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Other seed fell on the rock; when it sprang up, it withered, since it lacked moisture. Other seed fell among thorns; the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground; when it sprang up, it produced a crop: 100 times what was sown.” As He said this, He called out, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”Then His disciples asked Him, “What does this parable mean?” So He said, “The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you(I) to know, but to the rest it is in parables, so that Looking they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the seed on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.
You may have read or been taught that this is a kind of missionary Bible verse, but in my reading it looks altogether something different. Re-read it a few times, contemplating this message. I think you will see Jesus explaining that some do not believe Him, and others do. Those that do believe fall into three camps: 1. The first group are those with shallow beliefs; during difficulty they can’t endure testing (no root), so when life doesn’t work out for them their faith falters. 2. The second group are the babies; they try to live dualistic lives, either consumed by the worries or riches and pleasures (not mature), they want it all; Jesus, riches and comforts. 3. The last group have heavenly foresight; they know their lives don’t consist of what happens to them. They have heard “with a good heart,” not thinking of themselves. When they encounter difficulty, they think of what is best for Jesus, eternity and for the change and refinement in our hearts that difficulty will bring.
The strange news is we are all of these folks; our faith falters because we have not taken the time to let our roots go deep. We try to live dualistic lives and we don’t grow, and see little Godly fruit in our lives, and when difficulty or riches happen, we look at our lives through performance mentality instead of what God is trying to teach us. When difficulty comes, and it will to everyone, God in his is ultimate grace allows it to, so that we will start to have that good heart, and walk a different and better path of faith, that grows mature fruit. This painfully has happened to me and feel that he has in many ways saved my life.
Lord help me to have a heavenly, eternal and Kingdom perspective in all that I do.