I donâ€™t really know why Jesus called this â€˜the parable of the sowerâ€™, because it isnâ€™t really about the sower, itâ€™s about the soil, and why the gospel does not impact everyone in the same way: the sower is the same, the seed is the same; itâ€™s the soil that produces different results.
â€˜Everything happens for a reasonâ€™? Nonsense. Everything has its time, true, but that doesnâ€™t mean everything is good. Wisdom tells us how it is: but it is not all there is.
It is my prayer that in all we do here our focus would be on Jesus. Yes we need to fill more chairs. Yes we need more money. Yes we need to reach out more effectively â€“ but in all that, let our focus first and foremost be fully on Jesus.
Do you want to know the peace of God? Are you willing to put your faith into practice, to be constant in prayer â€“ in every situation â€“ so that the peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Jesus?
Let us strive, not only for heaven, but towards heaven. We donâ€™t have to earn the prize; we donâ€™t have to be paralysed by the past â€“ letâ€™s journey together, sharing our pain, struggles â€“ and joy.
Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus showed in their own lives that it is possible to follow Jesusâ€™ example â€“ however imperfectly, we still need to try.
As we live like Jesus in humble, obedient service, as we work out what God is working in us, so together we will shine like stars shine in the night sky. And other people will see and want the one who makes us shine: Jesus Christ.
We arenâ€™t perfect, so our deep unity in Christ doesnâ€™t always make it to the surface. So Paul teaches: be what you are, let the truth of who you are in Christ be visible in your behaviour: that is what it means to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
It takes courage to share our faith, to let Jesus shine through the cracks. But think about this: without being put in prison, with all that time on his hands, Paul doesnâ€™t write half as many letters, which are part of the bedrock of the church. His broken jar; Christâ€™s treasure within.
Finding joy in the journey begins with abounding in love â€“ but not just any love: the love of Jesus Christ.