5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. 6 Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Luke 8:5-8
I was at a church the other day, and at the end of the service, the minister who was saying the final goodbyes said something like, “…Be sure to have a blessed week. We love you!…” and his last statement was, “Be a Christian in the Parking Lot!! “ I chuckled at this. I think my first thought was sincere, believing it was coming from his. “Love someone in the parking lot.” “Show love and kindness.” “Greet someone with a holy kiss.” The 2nd thought, which made me laugh, was me visualizing one of the hostesses cussing out one of the Sunday school teachers in the parking lot. Or the organist and the worship pastor going to blows, just 70 minutes after leading us into “the presence of God”.
Lord. This really is not funny, and the sad part about it, it really happens. As I ponder more, I conclude that the pastor’s statement is an important reminder to be a Christian as soon as you walk out of the door. The truth is we don’t do a good job preparing for the enemy’s tactics that he has prepared for us as soon as we hear a Word from the Lord. We come to church with an open heart preparing to receive from God. We get there as early as we can, so the kids can get settled, we praise and worship God to get in a position to hear a song, a word, a message that would be exactly what we need to be inspired, committed, ignited. And as soon as we dry our eyes, as soon we hit the parking lot, as soon as we get home, as soon as Monday comes…. our encounter with God is challenged, stolen even.
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest. " Luke 8:11-15
I can give you numerous times when I received something from the Lord and almost immediately I had an obstacle to climb to hold on to what I had received. The day after I heard the parking lot comment, I became sick which slowed me down for a week. I had come out of worship with my praise team, and without thought, talked a little “off” to one of the members. God may speak to you one morning, and that afternoon, you’re fighting depression.
God help us. God help us not to just hear the Word that You speak, but give us the grace and tools to hold on to what You have given us.