Good morning and welcome to Wednesday’s podcast. We are halfway through the week and I hope that whatever you are doing – whether at work or at home, home-schooling or in your own space – that you are having a fulfilling week.
Today’s reading is from 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 13-16. I am going to focus on verse 13, which says this:
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. (NIV)
…When you got the Message of God we preached, you didn’t pass it off as just one more human opinion, but you took it to heart as God’s true word to you, which it is, God himself at work in you believers! (MSG)
In our current state of lockdown, my family and I are very thankful to have a garden. It’s a space to kick a football, sit in the sun and to get some fresh air. It is also a continual work in progress for me and Helen.
Helen is a big fan of bees. If you have tuned in to her podcasts then you will already know this. She studied bees as part of her history degree (yes, I know!), we have books about bees, novels about bees, placemats with bees on and I even received a valentines card this year with the invitation to… “Bee Mine!”
So, for her last Birthday I did pretty well on the present front (a rarity for me, Helen will tell you that after 21 years of marriage I too, am a work in progress!). For her birthday I bought her a solitary bee house – no not a house for a single bee but for bees that don’t do the whole hive thing… introvert bees… socially distanced bees – you get the picture.
I also bought a packet of wildflower and grass seed mix.
In due course I put up the bee house in a suitable position but the seed had to wait for a more opportune time to be sowed..
During lockdown we have attempted to transform one area of the garden from a grass and dandelion haven to a magnificent, bee-friendly summer meadow heaven.
It was my job to dig. So, knowing very little about undertaking such an enterprise, I dug and turned over huge sods of earth. Everyone knows that topsoil is important so I thought if I could turn over the top 8 inches of soil, leaving the old grass in the soil to decompose… that’s got to be a good thing, right? Remove as many dandelions as possible – and there were hundreds – jobs a good’un, in a couple of weeks we will be ready to plant. What could possibly go wrong!?
So about 10 days ago I finally got round to planting the new summer meadow seeds. I watered… not too much (I read the packet!) and we wait…
Now, I am a little concerned that this isn’t going to work.
I have since done a little research about preparing old grass areas for planting… None of the websites I have surveyed have suggested our “leave the grass buried in the plot” method – so either I am a genius and books will be written or there is another more apt description kicking about!
I am a little worried about the seed.
You see since last summer the seed packet has been stored in our garage. So far so good… but the packet has been stored on the windowsill and that window gets a lot of sun. I wonder if this is the best environment for seeds!?
I have just checked current progress… some old grass is showing through. Some weeds are appearing and… not much else!
when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
Jesus used the analogy that the word of God is like a seed that a farmer sowed… some fell on the path, some fell on a rocky place… you know the parable…
Here the Thessalonian church is being commended for the way they received the word and that the word has taken root and has begun to grow.
My summer meadow seed may be defective, stored in direct sunlight… I have my doubts that anything is going to grow.
The Thessalonians had no such doubt. I love the message translation here: you didn’t pass it off as just one more human opinion, but you took it to heart as God’s true word to you, which it is…
When we hold the Bible in our hands it is God’s true word to you and me. Precious words… precious seed.
Seed that when taken to heart, when worked into the soil of our lives, will produce the most abundant fruit, the most amazing character, steadfast emotions, the most generous of personality.
There are times when I rush through a time of devotion. When I listen to a podcast but don’t really hear it, when I am rushing onto the next thing.
We have all received God’s true word at one time or another but does our soil need tending? Are yesterday’s weeds taking hold once again? Have our hearts taken a battering and grown hard? Do we need to go to God and ask him to break up the unploughed ground once again?
Take a moment to pause and reflect: “What is God saying to you today?”
Father, we want to thank you for being the master gardener. No one is able to cultivate our lives like you. Father, help us to yield to your work and your care of us. Lead us deeper into your word. Help us to take your word to heart, to treasure the Bible as your true word to us. Do what it takes to make us come alive and flourish for your sake and the sake of the world. Amen.
BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: you suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.