Marinate: On the Path

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Matthew 13:1-4, 18-19

At Reeves we begin a new sermon series this week entitled Marinate.  In this series we will dually marinate on the spiritual discipline of meditation through reflections offered by the great 20th Century theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer as we marinate on the same passage of Scripture for four consecutive Sundays.

This is one item on my #sermonizerbucketlist – to preach four consecutive Sundays on the same text.  This round is with the Parable of the Sower.  The PotS lends itself to “four scenes” if you will – so we will marinate on a different scene each week.

The other variation of this item on my #sermonizerbucketlist is to preach four consecutive Sundays on the same text to show a variety of exegetical methodologies that can yield a variety of sermons without going the “scene” route.

I know I know…I’m a nerd…but I think I’m a pretty #awesomenerd.

Now…to the text.

As I marinate on this text I definitely resonate with the experience of having the evil one come in and mar God’s truth that is planted in my heart.  My greatest resonance is with doubt, which may sound surprising because of my vocation…

But doubt is present – not ever-present – but present.  And when that doubt takes hold, it snatches all the good growth of God’s truth in my heart.

There is blessing amid the snatching.  The blessing is that a remnant remains – a faithful remnant at that – a true testament to God’s goodness and faithfulness.

The growth may be gone, but I believe the seed remains.  

I do not believe that the evil one or temptation or sin is able to take away what God gives because the evil one, temptation, and sin are not of God.  They are derivative; they are a privation.  They cause darkness – but darkness cannot drive out light – most especially the light that God’s truth is for us.

There’s a story told about a conversation shared between John Wesley and his Moravian mentor, Peter Böhler.  Wesley continually struggled with having faith and then doubting – how would he manage?  And Böhler turned to him and said, “Preach faith until you have it, and because you have it, preach faith.”

So what’s the answer to doubt?  I believe trusting.

And how do we cultivate trust?  I believe by growing in our faith.

And how do we grow in our faith?  I believe by immersing ourselves in the study of God’s word and the worship of our Savior.

In other words…we marinate.

Reflection: How have you experienced God’s truths being snatched from your heart?  Can you identify the snatcher(s).  How can you guard your heart from the snatcher(s) in the future?

Prayer: God says to us, “My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forwards, and your gaze be straight before you.  Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”*  Help us hear you, O God.  Guide us.  Guard us.  Amen.

*Proverbs 4:20-27

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