I was in junior high school when our school burned. The night sky glowed red from the flames and could be seen from miles away. The school was rebuilt in another location and I graduated in a new school. In time a new football stadium was constructed at the new site. We played the first game in the new stadium my senior year of high school. Unfortunately, we lost the game, to a rival school where my Teresa just happened to be a cheerleader. Ouch.
One of the things I remember these many years later is how long it took us to get the playing surface ready in the new stadium. Many of our PE classes consisted of walking the field with buckets in hand picking up rocks. Indeed it was very stony ground but eventually was cleared and ready for play.
It was stony ground. I am reminded of such when I read the parable of the sower found in three of the gospel accounts.
One of the accounts of the parable of the sower is found in Matthew 13. I personally think it could more appropriately be called the parable of the soils. The parable seems to me to be more about the different kinds of soil or hearts rather than the sower. Jesus described the seed falling on four different types of ground representative of different hearts when exposed to the truth. Two of the four, the stony soil and the seed sown among thorns, initially receive the word but fall away in time.
For our thoughts today let us consider the stony soil. Contextually, this is describing one who immediately receives the word with joy but endures only for a short while. Jesus identified this person as one who has no root in himself. For when problems arise, he stumbles, because he has no root in himself.
Consider this person “who has no root in himself”.
Some people make a quick emotional commitment to Christ. They may even believe in their hearts that it is a real commitment but it doesn’t last. They are unable to sustain their faith because they have no root in themselves.
The analogy is so real. The idea of a seed in deep rich soil will first produce roots growing deep into the soil. Afterward, the growth upward will occur. However, a seed sown on a rocky ledge with only a thin layer of soil, quickly springs up with all growth going upward. The scorching heat will quickly kill this growth because the plant has no root. Of course, the scorching heat in the analogy represents trials and persecutions that will come in time. Without the deep roots necessary to sustain it, the plant and correspondingly the new convert, will die.
Think about the person who has “no root in himself.” What does this man look like? Could this be me?
Let us examine ourselves. Does that describe me? Am I one to follow each new whelm that comes along? Am I the one who is carried away with the latest religious fad? Or am I mature enough to stay true to what I believe when trials and persecutions come?
I don’t want to be a man on stony ground.