Series: Grow Strong
Sermon: Growing Whom?
Speaker and Writer: Jessyka Albert
Refresh: Start with a prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Matthew 13:1-43 (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: As we begin reading Matthew, Chapter 13, we find Jesus positioning himself as a teacher would, by sitting. A posture that might appear simple or humble holds great weight in terms of what He is doing. Jesus positions himself as a rabbi—a teacher—but instead of spewing off an intellectual lecture, he begins to speak to the crowd in parables. He begins to speak in early-to-understand terms about a common man living a common life: “A sower went out to sow…” He continues the story of a man sowing seed on very different types of earth: the walking path, the rocky ground, the thorny ground, and the good soil. This is a story of ups and downs, of failure and success. Jesus concludes by saying, “Those who have ears let them hear.” In a way, Jesus was sowing His own seed right then and there. Some would hear and understand; others would not.
Not all soil is created equal. Although the sower, the seed, and the method remains consistent, the soil determines how the plant grows. As we look to the human lifespan and the different ages and phases we encounter, we recognize similarities. This week we will be discussing the life journey of those who:
Live Wonder (ages 0-3)
Live Adventure (ages 4-11)
Live Purpose (ages 12-17)
These ages and the words used to define them aren't meant to be restrictive. By no means do I believe that only 4-11-year-olds experience adventure, but it is during this life stage that they discover adventure and begin to carry it with them throughout the rest of their lives.
While reading this, you may recall your own experience of these phases of life. When you experienced wonder looking at the eclipse, when you felt the adventure of moving to a new city, when you found purpose in a class you took or a project you completed. These phases and experiences of wonder, adventure, and purpose are universal. We all experience them at one time or another, but I would argue that there is always emptiness when these phases are not rooted in good soil. When we scatter the seeds of our life, but do not root ourselves in Jesus, we never fully experience what it means to really live wonder, adventure, and purpose.
We might wonder why the seed should go anywhere other than the good soil, but Jesus reminds us that all areas of land deserve the seed.
Recalibrate: Does it encourage you or bother you that Jesus spoke in a common inclusive language? When you talk to others about God, how do you speak?
Respond: When was the last time you experienced a genuine sense of wonder, adventure, or purpose? Pray that your life be grounded in Jesus so that you may experience these things more fully.
Research: Read the creation story found in Genesis, Chapters 1-2. Now read it again, but with ears that hear, and with a sense of wonder.
Wonder: Ask your child where their ears are and grab your own ears. Talk about how Jesus wants us to hear what He has to say. Hold your hand up to your child’s hand and pray, “Jesus, as this little hand and these little fingers grow bigger, I pray that you keep my child rooted in you and living in wonder and awe of who you are."
Adventure: Draw a picture with your child that shows the path, rocky ground, thorny ground, and good soil. Throw seed on the picture by making dots all over and tell them what happens to each of the seeds in each type of soil as they color the story. Ask them what they think makes the good soil good and what makes a good heart good. Let them pray for your family.
Purpose: Why do you think the farmer threw seed everywhere? When you take a test, do you answer all of the questions even if you might not know some of the answers? As you go throughout your day, you might not want to waste your time on things or people that don’t seem worth it. Ask Jesus to give you a heart of care.