Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23
In my first year of teaching, I was assigned to teach Physical Science to a class of freshman. I found those freshmen to be quite diverse, a lot like the four types of soil to which Jesus was referring in his parable of the Sower. In some ways, it was a factor of maturity that separated the soil types.
First, there was the group that was clueless to the fact that teaching was going on. They knew they had to be there, but it wasn’t for learning. They couldn’t pay attention. They were still children in bigger bodies. They didn’t understand the basics of physical science and didn’t care to understand it. When they saw the cliffs above a body of water like at Party Cove on KY Lake, they were the first to climb and jump off. I will mention that these were primarily male students. Females tended to mature more quickly than males at that age.
The second group representing the stony ground was made up of students who didn’t understand how or why things in the natural world interact together, like how gravity is a force to be reckoned with if you’re standing on a twenty-five foot cliff. They couldn’t calculate how fast they were travelling when they hit the water but common sense made them hesitant. Yet when their peers put the heat on them and called them names for being afraid of jumping, they jumped.
The third group consisted of those students who were receptive to hearing the teaching. Pushing the laws of energy, matter, and space beyond their limits could do more damage than it was worth made perfect sense to them, but they were quickly influenced by the thorns, the pressing conditions of their environment. They stood in the back row when others were testing the limits, but when wanting to be accepted by the group increased, or they wanted to impress the new girl who moved in from out of town, they joined in.
The fourth group was mostly the girls, and a few self-assured males who had other things they were trying accomplish – like being on an athletic team and not wanting to get hurt. They were the ones who stayed on the shoreline, ready to help if someone needed a life preserver thrown to them, or to be dragged into a boat, or needed a cut on their leg wrapped up. They understood that people can’t defy the laws of nature without doing harm to themselves. The fruit they bore was being the responsible members of the group who were present to help those who hurt themselves.
Sometimes our receptivity to important teachings is received in direct proportion to our level of maturity. A person’s receptivity to Jesus’s teaching about the kingdom of heaven is received in direct proportion to his/her spiritual maturity.
As I explained in my ebook about the kingdom of heaven which is on sale for 99¢ (today through July 15, a 75% reduction) — it’s the movement toward unity and harmony, the working together of all things as one in the present day and age. Most of Jesus’s parables make more sense when we understand that this is what he was talking about.
So, where do you stand in promoting the development of unity and harmony in the world?