Mark 4:5-6- And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mark 4:16-17 -And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Excerpt from HGTV- Is rocky soil turning your landscaping dreams of green to gravel? Rocks make for a great garden above ground, but when the soil below is made up of the same impenetrable stone, plant roots have a tough time getting the nutrients they need to survive. So what do you do if your yard is full of rocky soil? Homeowners across the country blast, backhoe and burrow their way through compacted soil, not always with satisfactory results. Rocks aren’t all that biologically active, which means that they don’t enhance the soil’s productivity much. Just as rocks can affect what you plant below ground, they can affect what you plant above ground, too. Rocks can create microclimates that may either help or hinder growth.
Let me begin by sharing a few things I have learned from experience concerning rocks. Above ground, rocks can be used as an eye pleasing decoration in a flowerbed and over time they tend to work their own way into the ground. So I head back to Lowe’s to purchase more rocks. Grrr! Rocks can also block the sun that is needed for growth, so don’t put your plants too close to the bordered rocks. Some plants need sunlight from the time the sun rises until it goes down. However, too much sun will kill any plant that is not planted deep enough to take root.
This too happens in our lives when we have either no root in the word of God or we are improperly rooted by false teachings. Jesus said, we “endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, IMMEDIATELY they (we) are offended.” I know that I was offended by having to purchase more decorative rocks when my next spring planting came around. I also had to dig up some of the old rocks that became embedded in the dirt and I was a bit more than offended. What should I have done differently? Watch HGTV of course.
We begin to look for answers on how to make life changes sometimes with and/or without the Son. We too, try often to blast, backhoe, and burrow our way through rocky dirt in our lives to no avail due to the fact that we haven’t rooted firmly enough in the WORD to apply it to our difficulties. It takes a lot of love. But, then there’s God, not Maude. 😛
Jesus said “…who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;” had me thinking…Is it wrong for us to quickly accept and be impulsive about sharing the gospel without thinking about the consequences? Then I remembered that Jesus also said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) It just so happens that when we are faced with problems and antagonism because of the word of God, we begin to lose heart; most stop coming to Jesus as they work their way down into a rocky place.
We are excited when we join a church and some can’t get beyond a certain growth spurt. They become stressed and yes, they are offended. Could it be because he/she didn’t deny self? It seems to be a natural process for all humans when hard times hit. But when Believers are hit with hard times and fall away; is it because they didn’t take up his/her cross? “Hard times flush the chump. Everybody’s lookin’ for answers…. ” is a line that came to mind from the movie Oh Brother. I took a moment to look up what that may mean. Here’s what I found courtesy of Ivy Sea Online Leadership Site:
It could also mean that people, feeling pressured or fearful, act out from their less skillful selves and are just unpleasant, intolerant or judgmental.
Or, like the movie’s Everett noted, hard times make people willing to believe just about anything. Here, he was referring to the overly naïve. Eager to delegate his or her own personal responsibility to someone else, rather than bucking up and taking action for him or herself, these folks are often fast-food for the charlatan
It could mean that challenging circumstances flush out the less committed, unfocused or risk-averse, those who don’t have what it takes (or find that it’s not worth it) to see it through. Hard times definitely flush those folks, probably for their own ultimate benefit.
As Believers, I believe that we have to face the fact that we have, we do, and we will fall upon rocky /stony periods in our life because we do not consider the outcome of choices made especially when hard times hit. I agree “challenging circumstances flush out the less committed…” But, as we continue to grow in the word and commit to the word, we learn what it means to show ourselves approved unto God.
We must admit that we can do nothing without the help of the Holy Spirit. We can’t even change our dirt without His help. I think the key to getting ourselves out from amongst rocky soil is to “deny” ourselves. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives is detrimental to our growth in Christ. So to speak, He is the pH balance, the alkalinity that keeps us grounded in the word. Please note that while stony /rocky soil yields life to seeds sowed upon its ground, the growth is but for a short time. You have to ask yourself, do I want to spend an eternity with God or do I want to spend “but for a time” with Him? That leads me to my next thought.
(Running for cover…Not) I also believe that the number one reason some fall upon this type of soil is that some of us tend to rely on the word of our shepherds, i.e. pastors, leaders, and other advisers. Some folks are too lazy to spend quality Holy Spirit led time in the word of God to find answers from the Holy Spirit of God. When we rely on what others “said”, and have not spent “I” time (not me time) with God, we have no depth about what the word of God says. If you think about many incidents in the NT and the OT, if something were to be proven or questioned, they would always fall back to what “God said” or what “God did”; many NT writers even referred back to the OT. Jesus did it too.
For the last four years I’ve heard quite a few people say during a testimony or just via a conversation with the biggest smile on their face, “Well, pastor said…. And I believe God will do it.” My response is usually to stare at them out of disbelief or I ask, ‘What did God say?’ I have a tendency to blurt out something when I am in utter disbelief. That’s some rocky dirt. Yeah I need to change that dirt! (TYHS) Remember what Jesus said to John and James when they asked to sit at his right and left hand in the kingdom of God? He said “Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Mark 10
Question…Can you drink of that cup when you are taking root in rocky soul? Peradventure, some of us may need to change our surroundings, our employment, even so to the point of changing our place of worship. The lesson we need to heed here about this type of dirt/soil is that as Believers and Sowers of the word, we do not need to be in the vicinity of sowing amongst rocky dirt knowing that it hinders our growth period. Jesus has already given us answers about what happens when we are sowing in this type of dirt/soil. Yes, “Everybody’s lookin’ for answers…. ” therefore heed the teachings of Jesus.
When it seems like the Holy Spirit is dormant in our garden (heart), it is time to change our dirt. It is imperative for us to grow in a more alkalized garden instead of continuing to push, backhoe and blast ourselves into finding root in an acidic garden. The only thing that I can think of growing on rocky soil is the church.
Proof on the Rocks: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16
Do you need to change your dirt?