Thursday, January 24, 2008

This week's Sabbath School lesson: the call refused

Many are invited, but few are chosen -- Matthew 22:14, NIV.

Jesus was not doing well -- in fact, Jesus had been rejected by just about everybody who was somebody!
  • The Pharisees and Herodians were plotting how to kill him.
  • The teachers of the law said he was possessed.
  • And even his own family thought Jesus was crazy.
No, Jesus was a failure -- and it wouldn't surprise me if this made some of his followers believe that Jesus was doing something wrong.

"Maybe we need to run a focus group," they might have said. "Maybe we need to take some polls. Survey the public. Find out where we got off track."

But Jesus did none of these things; instead, he told the Parable of the Seeds (Mark 4:1-20).

"God's love is like the seed you sow when you're planting a lawn," said Jesus. "It goes everywhere."
  • But some people just don't get it. (Think of Nicodemus in John 1-21.)
  • Some people burn out quickly. (Think of the impetuous disciple in Matthew 8:18-20.)
  • Some people aren't willing to make the changes needed. (Think of the man who wanted to "bury his father" in Matthew 18:21f.)
  • And some are a mixture of all three. (Think of the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-23.)
In short, the problem here was not Jesus, but the people who were failing to respond. That's because God's love is not a bulldozer that moves through our world with unstoppable force. Instead, it is a garden -- a garden that grows only if we tend it with care.

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