Back in the day when we offered my Mom free labour, we on occasion needed to fertilize the soil with manure. Don’t ask me which type we used, that’s not the focus here. All i remember is how awful that stuff smelt! At no point during this season did i worry about how the smell would be eliminated from the soil, or even how it worked. All I know is that we harvested the sweetest maize this side of the sahara!
Often times, our up bringing influences how we understand and apply the word of God. For instance, if you were born and bred in a concrete jungle, you may not fully appreciate the village night life. Therefore, you may struggle to understand our longing for the sights and sounds of mashambani – the smell of cow dung, goats and sheep, the crickets and fire flies, the sky and the stars. You may equally struggle to appreciate some of the parables Jesus used to teach.
Case in point? The parable of the sower in Mark 4 .
Jesus was teaching on the Kingdom and in this instance, chose the parable of the sower. We read that this man, woke up one fine morning and went out to the farm to sow seed. In the process, we observe that the seed fell in four different environments.
Let’s examine each one over the next few weeks, shall we?
The first environment we encounter is the wayside where the birds came and quickly devoured the seeds that had been sown. Yaani, punde, si punde, ghafla bin hu, ndege wenye miraba minne na misuli tinginya, wali zingira na kupora hilo neno ( no sooner had the word landed than army(ed) birds came and stole the word). There was no time for the seeds to even sink a few millimeters into the ground?! Jesus later explained that the birds represented the devil who quickly comes and steals the word. (By the way, with the amount of word stolen, one would think the devil has eaten enough to change. You don’t think so? No? Ok). So, basically, the devil steals the word and the farmer suffers double loss – he can’t salvage the seeds and there is no harvest.
I also noticed one more detail- the description of the environment into which the seeds fell.
By the way, have you been on Mombasa Road of late? No? Ok. We are currently meeting and making new friends in traffic courtesy of the ongoing road works. At this rate, we might as well just form a sacco and start saving. Because, me let me tell you- its for tears. Trenches, heavy machinery, disappeared lanes, dust, noise- name it! Recently, i found myself in mad traffic (- but si that’s daily??!!) as a compactor went over a section of the road over and over again. With each trip, the marram was compacted and made smoother and smoother, readying it for tarmac. Now, imagine if you decided to be a macmende and plant wheat, maize, millet falling on that surface. What are the chances it will take root and germinate? Zero, right?
The road side represents your very hard heart. Yes, you. It is obvious your heart has had some traffic given how smooth and hard it is. Ebu tell me – What compactors have been treading all over your heart? What situations, offences, challenges, ideologies have been added with each day to the existing rollers, increasing the weight as they rolled down the slope of your heart? How many times have you blocked the hammer of God’s word from breaking up that marram and turning it into fertile ground? Have you noticed how of late, the verses you had once memorised have become harder to recall? How you’d much rather read the directory than a chapter in the Bible? Have you realised the subtle changes to your language? Thoughts? Anything?
What are you doing about it? Ama you remained focused on the devil? The devil this, and the devil that!
Let me assure you friend, as long as you remain focused on the birds (the devil), you will fail to recognise the state of your heart and miss the opportunity to make critical shifts. May you find courage to allow the hammer of God’s word to break the resistance and change your heart so that the next time you hear the word, it will sink roots and eventually, it will yield a harvest.
Prayer: Lord, break through my resistance so that i can receive your word and bear much fruit- Amen.