Cultivate the Soil

Cultivate the Soil
Author: Roger Sealey, Guest Services/Care Director
The Parables of Jesus - Part 1
I’ve been blessed. I grew up as a pastor's kid in a good home with parents who loved me. My parents taught me many things, like how to play sports, take care of myself, and, most importantly, the basics of having a relationship with Christ. 

As Arch was teaching this week about cultivating your heart to receive God’s truth and why Christ spoke in parables, I was reminded of a RightNow Media series by Mark Batterson called “Whisper.” In the series, Mark speaks about how God talks to us. He pondered the question, “Why does God sometimes speak in a whisper?” I mean, wouldn’t we all listen if a booming voice just let us know what to do? I have no doubt that we would know it was God if He did that. Mark shared that it’s necessary to get close to someone in order to hear them whisper. More than hearing God, the goal is intimacy with Him.

A relationship with God isn’t meant to be easy. Easy things are often undervalued and discarded. We need to put in the effort to get to know God. Cultivate the soil, so to speak, so that a strong relationship grows.

I rebelled in many ways throughout my youth, but my parents have always supported me through my best times and my worst times. I spent most of my 20s not attending church. Don’t get me wrong, I still wholeheartedly believed in God. However, I wasn’t pursuing a relationship with Him like I should have. I was away from home for the first time, living on my own. For those who don’t know, I spent six years in the Air Force repairing high-tech electronics on F-15s. I met my first wife while stationed in Alaska, and we had my beautiful daughter Jessica, but God wasn’t at the center of our marriage. The marriage disintegrated after a couple of years, and I became a single parent. My parents were there to watch Jessica while I went on deployments. Eventually, I left the Air Force deep in debt, without a job, and sleeping on a couch in my parents' house. I learned a lot about relationships during that time and put the work in to cultivate better relationships with those around me, especially my daughter.
“Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown. Let anyone who has ears listen.”
– Matthew 13:3-9
When I talk with new fathers, I always emphasize one thing—spending time with their kids. From day one, it is an essential investment in their relationship. It’s not about money, gifts, and toys. It is about time and relationships. It’s about getting to know your kids and them getting to know you. As parents, we model the relationship that God our Father wants to have with each of us. It is a model that my parents showed with grace and love through diligence and effort. It is a model that, hopefully, I have passed on to my daughter.

A relationship with God isn’t meant to be easy. Easy things are often undervalued and discarded. We need to put in the effort to get to know God. Cultivate the soil, so to speak, so that a strong relationship grows. Spend time reading His Word and taking the time to listen for that whisper. Talk to Him about the most intimate details of our lives, not just our needs. Allow Him to speak into each of our lives without a barrier.

I challenge you to take a couple of extra minutes each day and spend time in prayer this week. Talk to God about the good and the bad moments of your day and listen for His wisdom. Ask God to remove the barriers around your heart that get in the way of freely loving and being loved by God.

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