Friday, September 28, 2007

steps

The rolling thunder and the sweep of chilled rain are the backdrops for my Bible-thoughts just now. The sweet earthy smell that rises from the pavement and lawns after a swift downpour fills my senses and quickens my desire to live for the now.
The parable of the sower and the seed was read by the Hull Homeschool Academy this fine morning, and a certain passage has been turning over in my mind:
"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." (Luke 8:15 NIV)
I certainly don't have the gumption to label my sometimes wayward heart "good" or "noble", but I can press towards that goal by heeding Jesus' practical prescription.
The first step is fairly straightforward: hear the word. I can do that on a Sunday merely by attending a good church. I can "up the ante" by reading God's Word every day, attending special services where the Word will be preached, joining a Bible Study, listening to Christian radio or tapes, and surrounding myself with strong believers that put their money where their mouth is. In other words, they stand by what they say because their speech is undergirded by God's Word.
The second step given by Jesus takes more inclination: retain it. My, my. That gets harder as the years go by, doesn't it? Looking over my notes, re-reading a passage, meditating on the Word throughout the day, memorizing scripture, and doing a word study really helps me retain what has begun in me. I will testify to this: if I don't work at it, it won't automatically happen.
The third step takes time: by persevering produce a crop. I see two requirements here. One is perseverance, and that is a quality that cannot be substituted. The back inside cover of my favorite cookbook has a handy chart called "substitutions." For instance, if your cupboard is lacking bittersweet chocolate, you can use cocoa powder and cooking oil instead. No buttermilk? Try stirring a tablespoon of lemon juice into regular milk. This chart has saved a trip to the grocery store a number of times. But there is no substitution for perseverance! Not burning zeal, not good intent, and not a sorrowful heart, although these are desirable things in their place.
The last part of this step (sorry to use another cooking-term!) is "the proof-is-in-the-pudding principle". Eventually, perseverance will produce results. Jesus said so, and it is so true.
These thoughts will accompany me to Star Lake, where the women from church will be enjoying each other's company and spending time in God' presence. Hope to see you there!

2 Comments:

Blogger Darlene Sinclair said...

Perseverance. Hmm. Good word; not my natural tendency once the fun runs out. Jesus has a way of getting right to the point. He also has a way of leading us right back to Him. What a good God.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous abbi said...

Nan, I was at the Art Institute in Chicago yesterday and I thought of you (almost) every minute. :-) Do you think I'll get a chance to see your smiling face this Thanksgiving?

9:55 AM  

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