Volume XXXVIII, #29: Planting on the Rocky Places
“The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.” Matthew 13:20-21
Joy does not save. God does. In a generation where many “just want their kids to be happy”, this point must be stressed. Many happy children have left home and fallen away, as have many enthused converts had short stories with tragic endings.
Hear the parable. The seed was sown on “the rocky places”. It was placed in soil with limited depth. Therefore the root could not take hold at sufficient depth. Similarly, the word of God can reach someone in a shallow manner. It can elicit short-lived emotions, like the feeling when you are first saved. Yet, the roots of the Word must run deep into the heart.
The person on the rocky places has a passionate heart that desires heaven. But their understanding of God is not deep enough that they desire to walk with Him no matter the cost. Christ’s truth has not fully taken hold in the inner most places.
An old Kenny Chesney adage, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go right now,” describes many rocky soil people. Christianity that is misunderstood will seem more like a chore than a privilege. Righteousness unaccompanied by gratitude will feel more burdensome than joyful. Those who do not know God will desire only to be with Him in heaven instead desiring to take refuge in Him today. And if hell is never preached, our trials and persecutions may seem like the worst thing imaginable.
While we hope for heaven and know God’s severity, we live for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Therefor our joy is accompanied with love and fear. With understanding that aids in temptation, and a hope and assurance that survives hardships. The understanding of the character of God and of our King on the cross leads to a life-changing distinction in our Christianity: The joyous and the convicted.
The joyous are ecstatic for salvation, excited for the message. All Christians ought to fall in that category. The convicted go further, understanding the price paid for salvation and the love behind the mercy and grace of our wondrous God.
In Luke 14:28-29 Christ said, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it will begin to ridicule him...”
We must destroy the rocks and add depth to our lives. Count the cost. First, your salvation through God your Savior, and then that required for you to remain faithful to Him. When our hearts begin to grasp the love of God and the singleness and joy of devotion to Him, we will no longer be planting on rocks. Then shall we endure.