"What is the seed that fell on rock? That is like the people that hear God's teaching and accept it gladly. But these people don't have deep roots. They believe for a while. But when trouble comes, they turn away from God."
— Luke 8:13
Sometimes the Gospel starts up in people's hearts, but things get too tough. The evil one brings his times of testing. Difficulties in life mount. Friends reject us now that our values have changed. Suddenly, it seems that we are under attack from every corner. Those who don't criticize us, shun and avoid us. Will we hold onto faith? Even more, will those who are mature help rescue those who get pulled away? All of us will go through periods of testing in our lives. The real issue for all of us is whether we have friends who love us enough to keep us encouraged and to help us from "caving in" to the pressure of testing and temptation. So let's be that kind of friend to new Christians. Let's not let the overwhelming changes in their lifestyle, friends, and values make them vulnerable to isolation and abandonment!
Father, forgive me for not paying more attention to your new children in the faith. Open my eyes, help me to see where they are in their journeys with you, and help them in ways that are a blessing. I know that even your Son went through a period of temptation and testing shortly after he was baptized. I fully expect that most new Christians will face similar challenges. Please use me to bless, encourage, and strengthen them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
Many people came together. People came to Jesus from every town. Jesus told the people this story: "A farmer went out to plant his seed. While the farmer was planting, some seed fell beside the road. People walked on the seed, and the birds ate all this seed. Some seed fell on rock. This seed began to grow, but then died because the seed had no water. Some seed fell among thorny weeds. This seed grew, but later the weeds stopped the good plants from growing. And some seed fell on good ground. This seed grew and made 100 times more grain." Jesus finished the story. Then Jesus called out, "You people that hear me, listen!" Jesus' followers asked him, "What does this story mean?" Jesus said, "You have been chosen to know the secrets of the kingdom of God. But I use stories to speak to other people. I do this so that: 'They will look, but they will not see; and they will listen, but they will not understand.' "This is what the story means: The seed is God's teaching. What is the seed that fell beside the path? That is like the people that hear God's teaching, but then the devil comes and makes them stop thinking about that teaching. So those people cannot believe the teaching and be saved. What is the seed that fell on rock? That is like the people that hear God's teaching and accept it gladly. But these people don't have deep roots. They believe for a while. But when trouble comes, they turn away from God. What is the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That is like the people that hear God's teaching, but they let the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life stop them from growing. So they never make good fruit. And what is the seed that fell on the good ground? That is like the people that hear God's teaching with a good, honest heart. They obey God's teaching and patiently make good fruit.
Related Scripture Readings
So, brothers and sisters, be careful that none of you is sinful, and refuses to believe, and stops following the living God. But encourage each other every day. Do this while it is "today. " Help each other so that none of you will become hardened because of sin and the way sin fools people. We all share together with Christ. This is true if we continue until the end to have the sure faith we had in the beginning.
Brothers and sisters, a person in your group might do something wrong. You people who are spiritual should go to the person who is sinning. You should help to make him right again. You should do this in a gentle way. But be careful! You might be tempted to sin, too. Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you truly obey the law of Christ.
My brothers and sisters, one of you may wander away from the truth. And another person may help him come back to the truth. Remember this: Any person who brings a sinner back from the wrong way will save that sinner from death (hell). By doing this, that person will cause many sins to be forgiven.