I greet you, how are you? Did you take some time to examine the rocks and boulders in your heart? Have you allowed the Lord to start breaking each one? Has the mirror of the word revealed YOU to you? How many has the hammer pounded down so far? May you find more grace for the rest, yes?
Well, I did my own introspection. I had a few aha! moments – Isn’t it amazing what happens when we allow the Word of God free reign in our lives? Anyway, as i was examining my own rocks and boulders, i started to meditate on the third type of soil – the one covered in barbed wire [sengenge ni ng’ombe] and thorns.
My grandmother [of blessed memory] was an amazing woman. One of the many things i miss about her is the sound of her laughter and, the sound of her clicking her tongue in exclamation. You know that click that does not quite leave the lips but is loud enough for you to hear? Yes, that one. Back in those days, we used to grow pyrethrum, finger millet, millet, tea, maize and beans. I remember whenever my grandmother finished sowing the finger millet, we had to cover the patches closest to the path with briers, or thorns to protect the area from our little feet and the livestock that wandered freely around the homestead. So as the finger millet germinated and grew, we would move the thorns out of the way, otherwise, the crop would not flourish.
In Mark 4, the Bible says that as the sower continued to scatter the seed, some fell on thorny soil. Jesus later, in Vs 18, says this of the seeds and the soil:
Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
You know, all things being equal, fertile soil can grow anything. So i believe that the seeds that landed here actually sank roots and started to grow. The problem was that as the seeds grew, thorns that may have been left unattended or thrown carelessly around sprang back to life and also took root, only much faster than the seed. So, by the time the seeds germinated, the thorns were tall enough to strangle the life out of the growing seeds. Oh my… I’ve just remembered this funny video that has been making rounds of a young man who when asked to write an essay using the words “ghafla bin hu” [suddenly] quickly starts jotting down his essay, only that it in our story, he’d would probably write- ” Ghafla bin hu, wezi wenye miraba minne na silaha kali wali vamia wale mbegu na kuwanyonga!!” [Loosely translated – Suddenly, armed thorns pounced on the seeds, attacked them and strangled them to death”].
As Jesus later explains the parable, we get to understand what the thorns represent – the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things.
You know, as i think about this and look around me, I am of the honest opinion that Jesus was describing this generation. Why? Because we are the generation that witnessed the dawn of the new millennium and the technological advancements that followed [oh…. do you remember a program that used to show on KBC called “Beyond 2000” ? And how we thought the robots would take over?]
But even sadder for me, is the fact that this generation has postulated, venerated and, i dare say, manifested the worship of self. One of the most popular mantras is “Do you babe, the world will adjust”. We’re constantly competing and comparing ourselves with the next person, or their position, network and net worth. While there is a lot of good in this increased sense of self awareness, we are as a direct consequence, walking dangerously close to falling over the edge of life and into death. Did you realise we now have pastel labels for sin? What about our relentless pursuit of wealth, and, all costs?
With all these, when do we suppose, the word of God will grow to fruitfulness? We are so busy that we hardly have time to meditate on the word of God and allow it to take root in our lives! When was the last time you sat and actually studied the word. Not read a chapter in traffic or listened on the app while driving or cooking. No. I mean the old fashioned way – silence, pen, paper and Bible. When did you take time to cross reference scripture for a deeper understanding of its context and examined for yourself, not through Joyce Meyer or Priscilla Shirer, but for yourself how the word applies to your day to day? When last did we commit the word to memory? I mean large chunks of scripture. Yet we somehow have time to commit pages of songs to memory [Ouch!]. By the way, which authority do you quote more – the Living Word or your favourite author?
Sadly, as this trend takes root, you soon realise that as much as you are a Christian, Christ is not really the Head. And even worse, is that the soon enough, all we will see of our lives is a stunted crop covered in thorns. And do you know what, there is a determined end for such soil – fire.
So, dear brethren, what are we to do? Good question. I thing the answer is incredibly simple. Since Jesus already identified the thorns for us, what’s left of us is to do some serious weeding. How? By allowing the sword of his word free reign in our hearts to cut off, uproot and dig up the thorns. Simply put – study the word, meditate on it, let it cleanse you, correct you and burn the weeds, break the boulders and soften the land. Let the word dwell in you richly. Then and only then, can we begin to manifest the characteristics of fertile soil.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving us so much that you do not leave us to our own ways. As i study your word, i invite your Holy Spirit to be my teacher and counsellor. Remove the thorns and thistles, rocks and boulders and soften my heart so that my life may be a fruitful field. Amen