Saturday, 14 March 2009

Picking Stones

English: A Pile Of Stones These stones were re...
A Pile Of Stones These stones were removed from the field whilst preparing the soil for planting potatoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Picking Stones

March 14, 2009

By Randy Mantik

Ah, spring. It's wonderful to see things green up. One of the things that signaled the arrival of spring for our family when I was growing up on the farm was an annual ritual we carried out in the fields before planting called 'picking stones.' Ugh! For the uninitiated, picking stones is when you go through the field and pick up and cart off all the stones that have pushed their way up through the soil during the winter.

The first few times I did it, I thought, 'One of these years, we're going to get rid of every single stone and never have to do it again.' But, alas, when spring came the next year there was a fresh crop of stones.

In Matthew 13:1-23, Jesus talks about people's hearts, comparing their receptiveness to the message of the gospel to the soil. The soil of the heart doesn't have to be hard and unworkable. It can be softened.

Jesus says the seed sometimes falls on rocky ground. The soil appears to be good, yet it¹s shallow. The seed goes in and seems to take root, but there¹s not enough depth to maintain life. The plant dies off when the sun burns hot and things get hard because there are no strong roots.

Everyone faces the 'sun of circumstances' on their lives. Sometimes the rays are feeble and hardly felt; other times you suffer from a serious sunburn. A feeble ray might be when your car is in the shop or the washer breaks. A heat wave, when your child is diagnosed with cancer or the company you work for downsized you right out of a job. You name it, life can throw it at you.

However, what determines whether we grow in the heat of our situation or simply wither away is the depth and workability of our soil. How healthy are our spiritual roots? Are we diligently picking the rocks out of our hearts' soil.

What's life's sun doing to you? As someone said, "The same sun that hardens clay softens butter." When we allow the Word to soak into the hard, rocky places of our heart, wonderful things begin to happen. There is death to self. And then there is life. Let the Holy Spirit help you pick some stones from your heart today.
‹ Randy Mantik is lead pastor at CrossPoint AG in Portage, Wis.

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