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Mission Devotional - October 3, 2016

Opening Prayer: Father, allow the soil of my soul to be a place that is fertile and receptive to all that you desire to plant in my heart. Tend it carefully and nurture all that has sprung up in me that is of you; that I may be a garden of your delight. Through Jesus. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 13:1-9

Journal: Walk the field of your soul today, what do you see? Where do you notice each type of soil within you? Where do you notice each type of soil around you? How can you make the soil more receptive to the seed?

Reflection:A more fitting name for this parable might be The Parable of the Soil rather than The Parable of the Sower. After all, the soil is the only thing that doesn't remain constant. The seed is always going to be the seed. And the sower sows regardless of the circumstances. Yet it is the state of the soil that varies. Which makes you wonder how one might go about changing hard, or rocky, or thorny soil into good soil - if that's even possible. How do you work the soil of a field, or a soul, in order to transform it into a place that is receptive to the seed? How do you transform it into a place where fruitfulness is a real possibility?

A good farmer (which I'm not) would know how. A good farmer might see this parable for its possibilities. And maybe that is just what Jesus was counting on. A farmer would begin to consider how to make the soil as receptive as possible. He or she knows that hard soil can be plowed and rocky soil can be tilled and thorny soil can be weeded. A good farmer also knows that soil can be enriched by adding compost and manure in order to make it a better home for the seed to grow and produce fruit.

Maybe those are the same questions we should be asking of the soul. What is the state of my soul? Where are each of these soils my reality? And how do I nurture the soil of my soul - as well as the souls of those around me - in order to make it as receptive to what God wants to grow in me as possible? He who has ears, let him hear.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Andy and Bev Warren serve with an MTW team that is involved in HIV/AIDS work and church planting through the Ethiopia Aids Care and Treatment (ACT) Project. The project targets slum communities in Addis Ababa which contain the neediest people in the community - large percentages of women with small children. In recent years the project has served more than 500 AIDS-affected families, reaching more than 1,200 people. Pray today for a new one-year proposal that has been submitted to the government and is being processed. Pray for it to be approved quickly.

Becoming Like Christ (BLC) is dedicated to equipping women to be all God means for them to be by providing a discipleship experience that is based on biblical principles in a safe environment with 10-12 followers of Jesus. Pray today for Kristin Cazana, the National Executive Director of BLC, and all the women currently involved in BLC.

Closing Prayer: Thank you, O Lord, that you are always at work in the soil of my soul whether I can see it or not. Give me wisdom and discernment to know how to give your seed the most fertile soil possible for it to grow. And then let me trust you to do the rest. Grow your life in me. Through Jesus. Amen.