I am in the midst of preaching a series on the Parable of the Sower. The study and preparation for these four lessons is challenging me at a very deep level, as I have been reminded that each of the four types of soil represents people who hear the Word…yes, even the bad soils heard the message!
But as I was reflecting recently on the rocky soil, I was also challenged as a parent, and I want to share that challenge to all Christian parents.
In Matthew’s account of the parable, that section reads this way:
Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. (Matthew 13:5-6)
As with the rest of this parable, we should be grateful that our Lord did not leave us wondering as to the meaning. So, just a short time later, He explained that portion of the parable:
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for awhile, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. (Matthew 13:20-21)
Certainly, that could apply to any person or virtually any age, but as I was reading through that section of Scripture over and over in preparation for my sermon, one particular application hit me like a ton of bricks. And I pray it challenges me to be a better parent.
As I read about the one who receives the word “with joy,” I couldn’t help but think of those precious children who run out of Bible classes, eager to share a coloring sheet or craft that has helped them learn more about David or Jesus or Moses. They get so excited to attend VBS or a Wednesday night Bible class, and they are willing to hear those basic Bible stories. It is nothing short of beautiful, right?
But parents, here is what challenges me: am I doing anything to help those roots grow deeper? Jesus makes it clear in this portion of the parable–as does the remainder of Scripture–that His followers will face persecution (see 2 Timothy 3:12). I don’t like to think about it, but it is true: those precious arrows that God has blessed me with will one day be made fun of and persecuted for their faith.
If they attend a state university, they will have the science professor with the Ph.D. who blasts anyone who would believe in the “fairy tale” of creationism.
If they stand up for purity in their teen years, they will have people–even who go to church with them–who call them strange and even stupid for not attending the prom or homecoming dance.
If they do not celebrate the kid in school who comes out as gay, they will be put through the ringer as the intolerant Bible-thumper who is obviously a hate-filled homophobe.
And, parents, if we have not helped them put their roots down deep in the Word of God, the words of Jesus might well haunt us: “when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.”
May I challenge you: quit spending so much time making sure your child is a math whiz or a star athlete or a social butterfly, and start making sure your child knows the seed, which is the Word of God.
If not, you may be raising rocky soil.
“Father, please help me raise children with honest and good hearts. Help me focus on Your Word and show them by teaching and example how to learn your Word more deeply and use it more effectively. Help me prepare these precious treasures for the persecution and tribulation they will face, and let me be a help to them in removing the rocks that would block the penetration of Your holy Word into their hearts. In Jesus’s name, Amen.”
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn