16/07/2017: GENEROSITY

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 13:1-23 (GW)

A Story about a Farmer

13 That same day Jesus left the house and sat down by the Sea of Galilee. 2 The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat. He sat in the boat while the entire crowd stood on the shore. 3 Then he used stories [parables] as illustrations to tell them many things.

He said, “Listen! A farmer went to plant seed. 4 Some seeds were planted along the road, and birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds were planted on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The plants sprouted quickly because the soil wasn’t deep. 6 But when the sun came up, they were scorched. They withered because their roots weren’t deep enough. 7 Other seeds were planted among thorn bushes, and the thorn bushes grew up and choked them. 8 But other seeds were planted on good ground and produced grain. They produced one hundred, sixty, or thirty times as much as was planted. 9 Let the person who has ears listen!”

10 The disciples asked him, “Why do you use stories [parables] as illustrations when you speak to people?”

11 Jesus answered, “Knowledge about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you. But it has not been given to the crowd. 12 Those who understand these mysteries will be given more knowledge, and they will excel in understanding them. However, some people don’t understand these mysteries. Even what they understand will be taken away from them. 13 This is why I speak to them this way. They see, but they’re blind. They hear, but they don’t listen. They don’t even try to understand. 14 So they make Isaiah’s prophecy come true:

‘You will hear clearly but never understand.
You will see clearly but never comprehend.
15     These people have become close-minded
        and hard of hearing.
            They have shut their eyes
            so that their eyes never see.
        Their ears never hear.
    Their minds never understand.
And they never return to me for healing!’

16 “Blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear. 17 I can guarantee this truth: Many prophets and many of God’s people longed to see what you see but didn’t see it, to hear what you hear but didn’t hear it.

18 “Listen to what the story about the farmer means. 19 Someone hears the word about the kingdom but doesn’t understand it. The evil one comes at once and snatches away what was planted in him. This is what the seed planted along the road illustrates. 20 The seed planted on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and accepts it at once with joy. 21 Since he doesn’t have any root, he lasts only a little while. When suffering or persecution comes along because of the word, he immediately falls from faith. 22 The seed planted among thorn bushes is another person who hears the word. But the worries of life and the deceitful pleasures of riches choke the word so that it can’t produce anything. 23 But the seed planted on good ground is the person who hears and understands the word. This type produces crops. They produce one hundred, sixty, or thirty times as much as was planted.”

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group

STUDY QUESTIONS

  1. Sometimes this parable is referred to as the “Parable of the Soils”. Which soil type best reflects you? How about the “soil types” when you think about your family and friends?
  2. Do you believe that telling others about Jesus is an important part of you being a Christ Follower?
  3. Have you ever been the reason that someone else refused to accept the message of Jesus?
  4. Can you think of examples when others were “turned off” from Christianity by the actions of some Christ Followers?
  5. What does it mean, practically speaking, to say that you and I must share the Gospel with authentic, generous, Christian love! Write down some examples:

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Live with a Spirit of God controlled generosity this week. Sow the message of Jesus!

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