Summary: The distance been the ear and the heart is a mighty long one
Story: In the 19th Century (before radar was invented) ships avoided each other by looking out for beacons or lights on other ships.
And they communicated with each other by flashing messages to each other by light in a sort of Morse code.
One day a battleship was out on manoeuvres and the captain of the battleship saw a beacon on the horizon.
He realised that his ship was on a collision course with it. So he called his signaller and told him. "Flash the following signal over there”We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees."
The reply came back "Advise you to change course 20 degrees."
The captain signalled back, "Who do you think you are - telling a Captain in the Royal Navy what to do."
The response came back "I’m a seaman second class, you’d better change your course 20 degrees.”
By this time the captain was furious. He signalled back "I’m a battleship. I have no intention of changing my course. Change your course 20 degrees."
The reply came back: "I’m a lighthouse. Be my guest."
For the Christian, Jesus is the lighthouse in the storms of life. And it is at our peril that we ignore him.
The Bible is God’s manual for life. It tells us how to live our lives as God the Creator designed us to live. And in it we find the marvellous teaching that Jesus has given us by which we can live our lives.
Jesus gave much of his teaching in the form of stories that we call called parables
In this morning’s Gospel, we see Jesus down by the sea.
And he used a boat to go out from the shore so he could speak to the mass of people more easily.
Your voice travels better on water than on land – unless there is a storm!
Jesus used simple everyday metaphors to explain complicated theological ideas.
He put complicated things simply.
And the thrust of this morning’s parable is simply that it is not enough to simply hear Jesus’ fine words.
He wants us to put them into action
For many the distance between the ear and the heart is a mighty long one!
In the Parable, the various soils signify that there are four possible reactions when we hear the word of God.
1. The first ground of Jesus’ parable is the path
The seed doesn’t grow because the path has been so trodden down that the seed can’t penetrate the ground. So it les on top and the birds pick it up.
This ground represents the hearts of people who hear Jesus’ words and are just not interested in them. They can’t be bothered and think Jesus’ teaching is foolish .
And for such people, Jesus’ words are soon forgotten.
Story: One such person was Joseph Stalin, one of the great mass murderers of all time. But Stalin as a young man went to a theological college, but rejected the wonderful teaching of Jesus to embrace the harshness of communism.
2. The second type of soil in Jesus’ parable is the rocky ground with shallow soil.
The seed starts to grow and puts down roots but because there is not sufficient soil for the roots to grow.
This soil signifies people who would like to be disciples of Jesus, but don’t put in the effort needed,
They don’t find regular time for prayer and Bible Study.
They come to church at Christmas and Easter – and think this is enough.
But the word of God doesn’t take root deeply in their hearts and they soon drift away from Christian living. If you asked them they would say they are Christian – but they are only so in name
The sun comes along – and they are off on holiday and Jesus teaching is soon forgotten
3. The third type of soil is good but the environment is bad and chokes the seed.
The seed falls on soil that is deep enough for the corn to take root but the thorns spring up.
The seed does spring up – but its choked by the cares of life.
This signifies people who earnestly want to follow Jesus teaching, but the worries of life crowd Jesus’ teaching out.
They get sidetracked. Often they worry about money. They just want to make enough to be comfortable and spend more and more time working – and have less and less time for God and family.
Story: I have never heard of anyone - on their death bed - saying: I wish I had spent more time in the office”
Yet many people live as if they believe that .
The ground might be good but the environment is bad.
4. And the final ground of Jesus’ parable is the good soil, where the seed produces a wonderful crop.