Cheap vs. Genuine
"Some fell upon stony places" (Matthew 13:5)
In Norway it is very common to find a thin covering of soil on rock. Trees shed their leaves in autumn and slowly this builds up into soil. Imagine a seed landing on this soil -- it sinks in a little way, and the heat radiating from the rock causes it to shoot up at once.
Who are these people who "shoot up" immediately when they hear the Good News? These are a class of talmidim (disciples) whose religion is emotional. At first they show signs of great promise. They are easily moved by any appeal. The feelings work immediately to the surface. Such persons always seem most affected by sorrow. They weep inconsolably; but their grief is soonest over. In a similar way they appear to be deeply affected by religious appeals. They begin a Christian life with an earnestness that puts older Christians to shame. They attend all meetings; they often cry as they sing or pray. They talk of Messiah to their friends -- their zeal is wonderful. "Immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth".
But such quick growth lacks root, and cannot endure the heat of summer. The sun soon scorches them, and they wither. In spiritual life this analogy holds too. Emotional religion tends not to be permanent. It bursts up into great luxuriance today, but we are not sure that it will still have a healthy life tomorrow. Too often the enthusiasm is but transient. In the heat of trials, temptations, toil, or sorrow the rootless graces wilt down and die.
Usually the religious life that is most permanent is that which springs up naturally, and grows slowly to strength and luxuriance. It has good soil, and the roots go down deep into the earth, and are unaffected by the frequent changes in temperature, by heat or cold, by rain or drought.
If anyone finds that his spiritual graces are rootless, and that there is a hard rock in his heart underneath the surface, he should seek at once to have the rock broken by repentance and prayer, that the plants of righteousness in him may have opportunity to grow.
In Norway, where it does not get so hot, seeds often sprout up in this thin soil and grow up into mature trees. I have often been amazed by the ability of these trees to remain erect. They literally put their roots round the rocks and into the cracks. But when the strong winds come they blow over and die. Many people can grow up in the faith, existing precariously on this thin soil, putting their roots on top and around the cold rocks of their hearts. But they are still doomed. Unfortunately, such people often become flushed with their success at surviving for so long with cold hearts, and tend to live a delusion for many, many years. But the natural man gets them in the end...and they fall even so.
There are many churches and assemblies in the world whose soil is thin on spiritual soil and hard and stony when it comes to the love of Messiah. They spring up all the time and disappear almost as quickly. Those that survive tend to adapt by putting roots around the rocks of their hearts, fossilising, and becoming institutionalised.
A word of hope for those with stony hearts -- soil is made by breaking down rocks! The love of Messiah, which is more powerful than any other power in the universe, can crush a hard, stony heart into fine grains of the purest soil. Everyone has stones and rocks of different sizes in their hearts. To these I say: don't try to cast them out, but allow Yahweh to crush them into fine, spiritual soil. This is what it means to be broken-hearted, for the broken heart is the richest of spiritual fertilisers.
The Besorah (Gospel) is simple....so simple. It simply requires that we repent.
From a talk given in Moss Mission, Sunday 15 March 1992
Comments from Readers
 "Great sermon, wonderful Ruach HaKodesh presence" (JT, UK, 25 November 2013)
This page was created on 12 April 1998
Last updated on 25 November 2013
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