Daily Reading & Meditation

Friday (July 25):  "Whoever hears the word and understands it"

Scripture:  Matthew 13:18-23  (alternate reading: Matthew 20:20-28)

18 "Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is  what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately  he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it  proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

Meditation: How good are you at listening, especially for the word of God? God is ever ready to speak to each of us and to give us understanding of his word.  This parable of Jesus is a warning to those who hear and who preach the word of God. What makes us ineffective and unresponsive to God's word? Preoccupation with other things can distract us from what is truly important and worthwhile. And  letting our hearts and minds be consumed with material things can easily weigh us down and draw us away from the treasure that lasts for eternity.

Allowing God's word to take root in our heart
God's word can only take root in a receptive heart which is docile and ready to hear what God has to say. One lesson is clear: the harvest is sure.While some seed will fall by the wayside and some fall on shallow ground and never come to maturity, and some be choked to death by the thorns; nonetheless a harvest will come. The seed that falls on good soil, on the heart that is receptive, will reap abundant fruit. Are you teachable and eager to learn God's truth? And do you allow anything to keep you from submitting to God's word with joy and trusting obedience?

"Lord Jesus, help me to guard the word you have planted in my heart that no doubt or temptation may keep me from believing and obeying you. May I be fruitful in your service and may I never fear to speak of you to others and to share with them the good news of the gospel."

Psalm 19:8-11

8  the precepts of the Lord are right,  rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9  the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: God's word is like good seed sown in the heart, by Jerome (347-420 AD)

"'And the one sown upon good ground is he who hears the word, understands it and bears fruit.' Even as on bad ground there were three diverse situations (by the path, upon rocky ground and among thorns), so too on good ground the diversity is of three types: fruit of one hundredfold, sixtyfold and thirtyfold. Both in one and the other there is a change that takes place in the will, not in the nature itself. In both the unbelievers and believers it is the heart that receives the seed. 'The wicked one comes,' he says, 'and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.' In the second and third cases, he says, 'That is he who hears the word.' In the explanation of the good ground, he is the one who hears the word. First we must listen, then understand; after understanding, we must bear the fruits of good teaching and yield fruit either one hundredfold, sixtyfold or thirtyfold." (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 2.13.23)


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author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.
 

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