Rooted and Thriving
Jesus often taught in parables. His parables were usually taken from simple, everyday life circumstances, but Jesus infused the stories with intensive meanings. Someone really needs “ears to hear” what the parables truly mean. One of the most insightful parables for me is called “The Parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13:1-23). Jesus taught how a farmer relentlessly scattered seed. Some of this seed fell on the side of the road and was eaten by birds. Some fell on rocky soil where plants sprouted but were quickly destroyed by the harsh sun and heat. Other seed sprouted in thorny or weed infested soil and were choked out. Still other seed fell on good soil that produced a bumper crop.
It is the seed that sprouted in the rocky soil that we concentrate on here. Jesus tells us that the plants failed to thrive in this soil for a few reasons. For instance, he says that the plants had no depth in the soil. In other words, they weren’t well rooted. Jesus also explains that the sun scorched these plants.
But what does this mean? Jesus is encouraging us to seek depth, or to be firmly rooted in the soil of His word. How many times do we often prefer to live in the shallow end of Christianity? Our culture constantly tells us to look for the easy way, and we can readily succumb to the idea that the more conveniences the better. When it comes to our faith in Christ, however, can we not seek a better path of depth? The same Jesus who invited Peter to walk on water is calling us to His way, as well. But in order to walk on water, one must be ready to face the storm surge. In order to be firmly rooted, we must be ready for the scorching sun and drought.
How does one then become more firmly rooted in Christ and his word? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Read more in-depth Christian books. Oftentimes the most popular Christian books will not be the deeper literature. The more popular Christian books are certainly well suited for people who are new to the faith. Yet, if you have been walking with Christ for some time, then try to jump into the deep end. Here are a few authors I suggest: A.W. Tozer, Watchman Nee, Henri Nouwen, C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
2. Make a resolution to read the Bible from cover to cover. A few years back, I committed to reading the entire Bible all the way through. I had studied significant portions of Scripture for school and preaching, but this in-depth reading was for my own personal spiritual growth. It took me about two years to get through it all, but it was well worth the effort.
3. Develop deeper relationships with other Christians. During the pandemic, we have certainly missed the usual ways that we forge good relationships. What are some pathways for us to broaden and deepen our fellowship in the Covid-19 age? Virtual gatherings sure do help. A good old-fashioned phone call cannot be underestimated, as well. I know of some Christian friends that call each other every day just to check each other and pray together. Such fellowship is a taste of heaven itself.
The old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There is much wisdom in this adage. Begin to root yourself deeply now, and you’ll thrive in scorching heat.