Matthew has always been my favorite Gospel...but the good Dr. Luke sure gives the reformed tax collector a run for his money.
Reading through the parable of the sower the other morning. I would normally breeze past the parts about those deplorable people represented in the bad soil, though I might feel a bit sorry for them for a moment. But this time, I looked closely at how Jesus described the hard path, the rocks and the thorns and looked for myself in these word pictures in Luke chapter 8. Jesus' description of the seed that falls among the thorns was particularly piercing to me.
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
Choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures. I can see myself in that. But I noticed something more on this read through, something I hadn't seen before. I noticed that those of us in this category 'hear' the word of God, but as we go on our way we get swamped by the cares of this world. Isn't that the crux of it? We encounter God...and then? We go on our way.
Perhaps we don't encounter Jesus in the way that Paul did the first time, but I think Damascus road encounters are waiting for us in the Word if we will but read it as if it is fresh and let the meaning really sink in. I've had these kind of experiences...and yet, unlike our friend Paul, I've picked myself off the road, dusted myself off, and gone on my merry way...unchanged.
The thorns of life's worries, riches and pleasures lay across all of our paths. Seems to me that if we're not to get ensnared by these brambles, we need to come to a dead stop when we encounter Jesus through His Word.