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Titus Chu
July 1, 2018
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Matthew 13 begins with the parable of the sower. In this parable, the Lord compared the condition of His followers to four kinds of soil into which He as the Sower would sow needed things for their growth in life. What He sows is according to Himself and His eternal purpose.

In His wisdom, the Sower sows the things that are the best and most profitable for us, but our condition often frustrates our growth. These conditions are represented by the roadside where the soil is packed hard by the traffic on the road, the rocky places where the soil is shallow because of the rocks, the thorny places where many things grow other than what the Lord sows, and the good soil where the Lord’s sowing is multiplied.

In this issue we will cover the first two kinds of soil, that is, the way and the rocky soil. In the next issue we will go on the cover the last two, namely, the soil that produces thorns and the good soil.


The Roadside

“As he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.”
– Matthew 13:4

Some of what the Sower sows falls by the roadside. If our heart is like the hard-packed roadside, it is because we are very busy. As a result, when the Lord speaks to us, we can’t hear Him. When He sows something into us, we can’t receive it. If someone asks us if we love the Lord, our conscience is clear that we must answer “Yes!” Yet when the Lord wants to sow something into us, we are deaf.

Our deafness is because we are so busy planning our own lives. We pick and choose what we think is best. Even if we make our choice for spiritual reasons, it is still our choice. It is so hard to hear the Lord when we are full of our own consideration.

The Lord explained the roadside experience this way:

“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.”
– Matthew 13:19

We have to hear and understand, or what the Lord tried to sow into us will be snatched away. It will be as though the Lord sowed nothing. This is the experience of those who are busy with ideas, considerations, and plans apart from the Lord. The roadside means there is a lot of traffic, and traffic means there is a lot of planning.

I have sympathy for young people trying to decide where to go to college and what to study. They have input from their parents, friends, and high school counselors. They have to consider academics, sports, cost, and the school’s reputation. If they are even a little spiritual, they will consider if the school is located near a church so they can have some fellowship while there. There are applications to fill out and deadlines to meet. Are they regenerated? Yes! Do they love the Lord? Yes! But they are so full of busyness and consideration as they weigh the pros and cons of each school that they fail to hear the Lord’s voice. He wants to sow, but they don’t even notice. Almost no students pick their school based on the Lord’s sowing.

How wonderful if some could say, “The Lord sowed this school into my heart, and for this reason I am sure it is profitable for me and for the church. I go here not just because there is a church nearby, but because the Lord has told me to go here.” This is to be free from the roadside.

Those getting married are so busy planning their wedding, finding an apartment, buying furniture, and doing everything needed to fulfill their dream of the perfect family. So few slow down to hear the Lord on all these matters. There is no need to be so busy. There is great need to let the Lord sow Himself into us concerning all these practical things. We need to get off the roadside and go to where we can hear the Lord.

The Lord is sowing all the time. I am 80 years old, and the Lord is still sowing into me. The secret is that I have learned to not be so busy. Many people my age are busy with their medications. I take my medications, but I do not let them occupy me. Many are busy with their diet. I am careful what I eat so I can stay in good health, but do not let it occupy me. I try to get enough sleep, but do not fret about it. The Lord keeps on sowing and I want to hear Him.

The Lord continues to sow something into us in every stage of our life. We never graduate. We need His continual sowing even concerning the initial stage of regeneration. To have the reality of regeneration, we need the Lord to refresh us again and again. Yes, we love the Lord, but there are so many different ways to love Him in various categories and stages. We need His sowing all our life so we can experience the depth of His love. What a shame to miss it because of our busyness.

We shouldn’t think we know what love is. The love the Lord sows into us is not common. I have loved the Lord over 60 years. Even after all this time, He is still sowing some element called “love” into me. This love is profound and deep. I would say that my love for the Lord is so different from what is was 20 years ago, 40 years ago, or 60 years ago. When I was first saved, I had a love for the Lord that was sincere and genuine, but not that solid. Now the emotional feeling is gone, but my love for Him has become so profound and solid. Because of the roadside, many older Christians have lost their love for the Lord. I am so thankful that I can still love Him.

We know we are on the roadside if we are continually busy with this and that. Busyness and planning define life on the roadside. Eventually, it can cause us to lose very precious things of the Lord, snatched away by the birds.


The Rocky Places

“Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.”
– Matthew 13:5–6

The rocky places represent the second kind of person who will lose all benefit from the Sower’s sowing. If the ground is rocky with not much soil, it is hard for anything to grow. There is not enough water or nutrition, and no place for the roots to go. Whatever starts to grow there will not last long, especially when it gets hot. The Lord defined the rocky ground experience this way:

“The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”
– Matthew 13:20-21

This is different from the roadside experience where the ground was hardened by traffic, not allowing what was sown to even penetrate the surface. The rocky places had soil, but not much of it because of the rocks. Whatever grows there looks healthy at first, but it doesn’t last.

This sounds much like our young peoples’ conferences. The young people arrive almost dead, but the banners, the singing, the activities, and the messages stir them up. At the end, they go home excited. Their testimony is that they touched the Lord and gave their lives to Him. He was so real to them, and they want to share Him with all their friends. All this is very good, but how long will it last? Once they leave the mountain top experience and the hot sun comes out, what looked so healthy quickly withers and dies. Perhaps one of the banners should read, “Immediately we sprang up!” and another should read, “Quickly we wither away!” The Lord is unable to sow consecration into these young people because they have already made up their minds about so many things.

Once I tried to encourage a brother to consider seeing a sister by telling him that she was very good for him. At first he said nothing, but after encouraging him again, he told me that he was already serious about someone else. Of course I stopped my encouragement, because it was right that he pursue the one he had chosen. But with the Lord, it is not so right. He wants to encourage us one way, but we have already made up our minds to go another way. What a loss it is when the Lord stops His encouragement and lets us go our own way.

I believe there are many young people, though not everyone, whom the Lord might be calling to serve Him full time, if only for a few years. But because they have already decided the direction of their future and what career they will follow, they have no way to hear or cooperate with Him. Their hard unchangeable decisions have become rocks. Yes, they are regenerated, and yes, they love the Lord. But they do not know what it means to be consecrated. Because of their rocks, consecration has not been able to take root in them.

I know one saint who has decided to go to get a certain professional degree. Maybe it is of the Lord; I cannot judge. But one thing I do know, if this is a firm, unmovable decision on his part, it is a rock. If it limits his following of the Lord, it is a rock. We all have such rocks. No one can say they are totally rock-free. We don’t even know what our rocks are until the Lord touches them. When they show up, we are surprised. If we do not know how to deal with our rocks, we will not grow well.

I have mixed feelings whenever the young people give messages, especially if they do well. They may even do better than the more experienced ones, but what they have is too shallow because they have never dealt with their rocks. They speak a good message and quickly become proud, but if they don’t deal with their rocky situation, their message mean nothing. Eventually, when they can’t live up to their own speaking, their shallow roots are exposed and they wither and die.

How about those of us who are older? No one is exempt, but if we are faithful to deal with our rocks, they get smaller over time. Speaking for myself, I have dealt with rocks as long as I have been following the Lord. Today I may not have rocks as I had when I was younger, but I am not totally free either. At least I still have some small stones. This is good soil with some small stones mixed in. When the roots grow, they bump into the stones, but the stones are much easier to deal with than were the large rocks of my earlier years. Within me is something soft and tender, always crying out to the Lord, “Come and do more, work more, advance more, and gain me more. Take root in me that I may belong to you, love you, and give myself to you until my whole being is one with you.” Immediately the rock is gone.

We can be very good on the surface, but underneath we have our minds made up. We pretend our decisions are the Lord’s leading and fool ourselves into thinking we have no rocks. The fellowship we look for is not to seek the Lord, but to tell others what we are going to do and get their confirmation. What can the Lord do but let us go? Whatever He was trying to grow in us withers and dies.

We think that following the Lord is easy, and that making a decision is nothing. No. We have to let the Lord sow in us concerning everything. We must learn to abide in His sowing to be one with Him. If the Lord confirms our desire, fine. But if not, do we have ears to hear and can we give the “Amen” to Him? We must pray that the Lord will have mercy on us so that we will always be available and ready for His leading. Then the rocks will be easy to deal with.

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