My Stony Places
As we continue in this series I encourage each of you to take time to identify things in your life, your career, your spiritual walk that God is helping to uncover. Many times we focus on and/or easily identify issues in others soil, but while we are examining and judging them we are not noticing the ground we are sowing in. When thinking about sowing we have to take head to the fact that sowing is a process. Process according dictionary.com is “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.” This definition sheds light on the fact that you have to do something in order to receive something. In other words you have to sow in order to reap. This is the noun process, but the verb process according to Merriam-Webster says to subject to examination or analysis or in other words see what we have. If the truth be told the process always checks us. I always say you don’t know what you have until it has be tested or processed! You don’t know if that fish is good until you get the scales off. You don’t know if that meat is good until you process it. You don’t know if those tires are good until you test them. You don’t know how strong your faith is until you face an unbelievable situation. You don’t know how deep a relationship is until you hit rocky situations. You don’t know how good a leader you are until you face adversity within. Somebody touch your neighbor and say you don’t know until you go through the process!
I do want to make this exegetically certain that according to the Matthean account that there is an inference made. The inference is that a sower is going to sow. In other words the sower is doing what they are called to be and do in there season. If we examine the process of sowing in that day and time you will notice that a sower spreads seed. I can imagine in my spiritual mind that the sower had a sack or bag of seeds and as they walked along the way the field they took handfuls of seed and strategically tossed them into certain places and areas. This reminds me of pastoring. You say things and try to teach things and you toss good seeds out, but not all of the seeds make to where you wanted them to go. I am learning church that in the process of living out your call and your assignment that sometimes you cannot control the outcome! Sometimes church you have to do what God said to do and then let God take care of it. You have to work the process, but allow God to condition the ground and give the increase. In other words stop keeping up with your seeds! That’s part of the problem today everyone is trying to watch their seed. If you sow like God told you to sow then you will reap as the word of God says you will reap! Stop hovering over stuff and over analyzing and allow God to work on your seeds, because sooner or later it will be revealed what kind of ground it landed on!
Notice in the text it says it fell in stony places. Stony places look good on top but have issues underneath. This really reminds me of church folks. Dressed up on Sunday but mean as a snake Monday through Saturday. Church you can look good, sound good, act good, talk good, smell good, and still be stony! Stony ground looked good on top with good rich top soil. Farmers and gardeners know that top soil is important, because it has rich nutrients in it and is fertilized that will aide in growing, but the most important part of the soil is not the top soil, but that which is down deep! Stones block roots. Yeah Yeah you need to check out stones in your ground. Sometimes pride is a stone. You can’t apologize, and you are always concerned about your image instead of dealing with who you really are that’s a stone. Sometimes past hurts can be a stone. When you can’t move forward because of what happened in your past that’s a stone. We have this saying I’m so glad I don’t look like what I’ve been through is good, but every now and then I need to see some scars. Scars are revelations of God’s true grace in that it hit you and scarred you, but it didn’t take you out! I will hit this one more time Money can be a stone. The love of money is the root of all evil. If you love money more that you love God no matter how good you look no matter how much church you go to no matter how much work you do that’s a stone. I need to make this point clear stones are internal not external. Now some stones you can see from the surface. Like your attitude. If you have a nasty attitude that’s the manifestation of some stones deep down on the inside. Can I teach this morning? You are not acting that way for no reason! Either you were taught that meaning it was sown into you or something happened to you causing you to harden or be rocky in certain areas of your life. I want you to see this notice now that the seed is good. There is nothing wrong with the seed at all. So don’t blame the seed. Notice the topsoil is good. The top soil is rich and has the ability to aide in the growth process, but the issue is underneath the surface. Can I get someone to be honest with me and say God help me with what people can’t see!
The reason church, as I move toward my close, it is important to survey your ground is because your ground dictates how you reap. I want you to examine something in the text. Notice now when the seed fell in stony place that they came up. This is manifestation that the seed is good and the top soil is good. It immediately sprang up. The problem with this is if you don’t go through the process or get rooted you can come up too quick. Let me talk to some folks in here. Just because you teach one good Bible Study or Sunday school lesson does not mean you are ready to be a Pastor, Bishop, or an Apostle. Many times in ministry people will push you too quick and you don’t have strong enough roots to sustain you! Sit down somewhere and get rooted. You have to learn how to serve before you can ever lead! I pay attention to things even when it comes to a career. You may switch companies from time to time, but you stay rooted in the same career, so that you can grow and sustain the process. Some of you switch up too much. You can’t work anywhere long enough to get rooted. My boss when I graduate said Ron you need to work at least 5 yrs in an industry and do well before they will take you serious. You know why they want to make sure you are not stony! Get somewhere and get rooted! This even happens in church people come to church, get saved, and join the church then next thing you know they are running wide open in every committee on every board, and church folks will say that’s it keep working for the Lord, but I argue that you need to sit down and get some teaching first and deal with some of your stones, because it’s about to get hot soon! The next thing you know one thing happens and they leave the church and leave God, because they were not rooted deep enough to withstand the heat.
You know when your stony by the way you respond to the heat! When you are rooted deep you have access to resources and water that’s not on the surface. Sometimes life will hit you, but if your roots are deep you can pull from a source that no one can see and make it through a dry season! But in order for us to weather the dry season we need God to break up our stony places. Stony places will cause you to be shallow. Shallow in this sense means you can’t take anything harsh. When you are deeply rooted in God’s word you can withstand the dry season and you can withstand the storm. On the news as it flooded out west with mudslides and deadly land slides the news reporter said the reason all this occured was because nothing was rooted into the ground deep enough to hold it in place. If you are not rooted deep life has a way of washing you away. Don’t allow the stony places in your life to cause you spring up too fast only to be washed away or scorched up. I wonder if somebody will be honest and say God break up my stony places! Break up my attitude, my mind, my history, my pain, my losses, my fear, my hate, my raising, my tradition, my flesh, my lies so that I can get deeply rooted in you!