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Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Last week we talked about the path- that which is gone over and over again. We made some comparisons about some false teachings but then we brought the parable home to ourselves. We made the reference to that one path we call a grudge. We hash and rehash a problem over and over again until we cannot get over it.
Tonight we look at this verse again: “As He was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.”
The birds! What do we know about birds? Well, there are big birds and small birds. Birds that fly and birds that can only walk. Birds that live on water and birds that cannot swim or float. Birds that eat seed and insects and birds that eat flesh.
All well and good but what about the way people think about birds? Some people have feeders and some could care less. Some love birds and some actually hate birds. Our good friends in Illinois had a large hog farm and they shot at birds because birds can carry diseases which could harm the pigs.
When we lived in Louisiana we had A Purple martin house. It was said that the Purple Martins ate about 100 pounds of mosquitos every summer. The internet disputes this but the Louisiana people believe it. Nevertheless when we cleaned it out the floor was literally alive and crawling with lice!
Now lice and disease which the hog farmers fear is not something you can see by watching the birds. So in this parable is the hidden idea that birds might also represent those hidden things which appear as harmless but can attack our faith.
Think about what St Paul said, “I would not have known coveting is a sin if God had not said it.” David didn’t mind looking at Bathsheba taking her evening bath on a roof top near his palace. However, that led to adultery and then to murder. I have counseled people who saw no harm in something, which led to something else, which led to terrible sin.
Sometimes some small things become very large things which threatens a relationship, a marriage, and even a church. How many times have we asked someone why this particular gripe was such a problem and the answer would be, “It isn’t XYZ – it is the principle of it.” The main principle in a marriage or a relationship or a congregation is love and forgiveness. And XYZ is that seemingly innocent or petty thing which overrides love and forgiveness. Can we say that seemingly innocent bird which eats away our faith? Could it be our lake house, our boat, our job,
our casual relationship with someone of the opposite sex?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, … it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. …. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” “Forgive one another even as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
Love is a big thing, not like some lice or disease hidden in a bird. Love is what Jesus had and He demonstrated it publicly to the 5000, to all who were sick, lame, deaf and blind. But most of all He demonstrated it on Mount Calvary. He put it this way, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends.”
And that is why Jesus said to His own, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends,…You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—This is My command: Love each other.”
So we have been appointed to love one another as He loves us. Love starts with God. “We love Him because He first loved us.” And then it spreads to others, our families and friends and also our fellow members. And then, like they said of the 1st church, “See how they love one another,” It will also be said of us and that is a sure way to make this congregation be all God wants it to be. Amen.
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