Jesus Loved to Tell Stories
Jesus was a master storyteller. His insistence of using parables instead of just teaching has given preachers fodder for their sermons for two millennium. Oftentimes you can hear the same parable preached with differing action points pulled out. Parables allow for this because they leave the moral open for discussion. However there are some parables that get the same action points preached so often that we may miss what else Jesus was trying to communicate.
I believe this has happened with the parable of the sower (Luke 8:1-15). This most often is taught that the seed is the gospel and there are four ways people respond to it. I don’t want to negate this approach, but allow for me to pull out another interpretation that I believe will encourage your personal prayer life.
The Seed is the Word of God
The seed is the word of God. This phrase includes the gospel being preached, but it also includes the Bible. And, it includes anytime God wants to communicate to us. This communication is how I want to read this passage today.
There are four ways we can respond to God speaking to us. God may send us inspiration in our times of prayer or just in the midst of our day, and we doubt it is from God where the enemy steals the word from us. Other times we hear from God, and while we initially are encouraged, we don’t follow through with the word and lose it. Still another time the word is pressed out of us because life tells us another story. Finally we have the good soil that allows God’s word to transform our lives.
The Good Soil Needs to be Maintained
Each of these ways can be demonstrated by us. For one word we hear from God we may respond perfectly with good soil, but at another time we may hear something not as easy to accept and we are the rocky soil.
One word may travel through each of these soils. For example, my wife and I believe we heard the word of the Lord to move to Asia to provide a family for orphan girls as they leave the orphanage system. To many this word landed on good soil as we left all we knew in America and moved our family to Asia. However the cares of providing financially for our family has at times threatened to strangle the word. There has been a time of testing where locals questioned the possibility of the government to allow for this. And, the enemy has tried to steal the word by creating doubts. Since we have heard this word, we have had to actively maintain good soil.
What is the Lamp on the Stand?
Jesus follows this parable with the parable of the lamp on a stand. Again we often teach this as an exhortation to live our lives in such a way that people would see Jesus in us. This is a good interpretation, but in light of Luke 8, I propose that it also explains the word of God.
“There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed” (Luke 8:17). Jesus is telling us that it is the nature of God to reveal things. He is the one putting things on the table. He is revealing things He wants us to know. Jesus highlights this by telling us to be careful how we listen (Luke 8:18). God wants to share His secrets with us. The question is: will we listen and will it fall on good soil? If we do this, more will be given us.
Who Are His Mother and Brothers?
Jesus continues to expand on this concept talking about those who are truly His mother and brothers. He said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Luke 8:21). Are you starting to see a trend in this chapter?
Putting God’s Word Into Practice
The rest of the chapter reveals several miracles Jesus did. In the first example, Jesus calms the storm. After the sea became calm, he rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. Why is this? Should they have not been scared? What should they have done?
We know that Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19). I believe that the disciples should have been listening to the word of God. If they had heard it, and put it into practice, maybe they would have been the ones calming the sea.
I believe each of these examples in the rest of the chapter were revealing more to the disciples about hearing the word of God. I will give one more example. When Jesus reached the home of the synagogue leader, people were all saying that this girl was dead. Jesus introduced a new word, “she is not dead but asleep” (Luke 8:52). He heard the word of God, put it into practice by speaking it in faith, and then He commanded the girl to rise.
Now It’s Our Turn
The last half of this chapter is awe inspiring. We are left glorifying God and admiring Jesus. However, God designed this chapter to lead us to also listen for the word of God and, as Jesus showed us, put them into practice. Do you doubt this? How does chapter 9 start? Jesus sends out the twelve to do the same things they just saw (Luke 9:1-9).
Therefore if we want this same power in our prayers, then we must do what we can to prepare the good soil in our lives. The first is making time to listen for the word of God being spoken in our circumstances. The second is to put that word into practice. The more we do this, the more God will speak to us (Luke 8:18).
Check out our book on these two truths Jesus gave to His disciples before sending them to do ministry. I track our journey in China and how God helps keep you in His will. The book is called, Abundant Living, and you can find it on Amazon.
Thank you for this post. You brought up some interesting points. I know I must seem really dense for saying this but; I don’t get it. I still don’t understand how these parables and Luke chapter 8 apply as the Word of God. And what words is He saying? And I don’t know how the Word of God applies to Jesus rebuking the disciples when He calmed the storm. Will you further elaborate on this? I am soooo confused.
Don’t feel bad about asking. This idea about the word of God is something I have talked about in the past and think about even more often, so I may have shortened my explanation because (in my mind) it was clear.
In Luke 8:11, Jesus says the seed represents the word of God. Often we limit the message of the Word of God by only thinking of the Bible. While it includes the Bible, I believe the word of God is more accurately the voice of the Spirit communicating to you. The post I talked about this before is https://prayer-coach.com/2010/01/17/the-word-of-god-is-living-and-active/.
Verse 21 is the transitional verse for the chapter… 1. hear God’s word and 2. put it into practice. The first half was talking about #1. The second half talks about #2. Jesus calming the storm is the start of the second half of the chapter. We are not told why Jesus said where is their faith. My conjecture was that what if they were supposed to be the one who calmed the sea?
The overall point is that God is always speaking. As followers of Him, we are to be listening for His voice and what He is saying in our situation. There are many wise things to do, but God’s way will lead us to do things that may not be wise, but it leads us into His miracle.
Rachel, God loves you so much. There is nothing He would rather do than to talk to you. He longs for that relationship with each of us. All of life are just ways to get us to grow in that conversation.
I hope this helps.
Okay, now it makes a little more sense. Although, everything from God is wise, even His ideas that SEEM unwise to us that lead us into a miracle.
I wanted to thank you for saying the last paragraph of your reply to my comment. Hearing that God really wants to talk to me because He loves me is REALLY uplifting. Since last night, I have been questioning how often God actually speaks to me, and that maybe He is not close like I thought, because of another article I read about God speaking to us. The person was talking about how some people take this to the extreme and think that their every thought is God speaking to them, rather than their own brain working, and that God does most of His speaking to us from the Bible. While I do agree with him that the Bible is God’s most frequent form of communication with us and that not every single idea or thought we think of is God speaking, I felt discouraged too. I start to question then, did God really give me this idea or suggest something to me, especially if it’s something trivial. I do firmly believe that God gave us our brains for us to use them, that many ideas come from our own minds, and that we must use discernment to know if a thought is really from God. But, I also enjoy the connection I feel with God when I think He is conversing with me, even on seemingly unimportant issues. So thank you for your very encouraging words. I do believe God was speaking to me through your words.
I’m sorry your were discouraged by that person’s article. That way of viewing God is dangerous. I do believe that God wants us to use our brain at times, but there are two main problems. 1. God tells us His ways are not like ours. When we use our brain, we cannot comprehend the things of the spirit. We need the Holy Spirit’s help. I think this is why He likes faith so much, because it is counter the way we operate. 2. But, the main issue is even if he wanted us to use our brain in a situation. Would he ignore our questions to get us to figure it out? No, even a bad parent would still answer their child and instruct them to think it through.
If there is a situation where God wants you to figure it out on your own but you are waiting on Him for an answer, He will lead you in the direction to find the answer. Always remember, He is a good Father.
Thank you for sharing. I love your insight and comments.
Thank you, again. I really liked what you said about God not ignoring our questions to figure out something. I needed to hear that too. I have another question. Do you think God even bothers to answer trivial questions? For example, today, I was organizing my room, and I was trying to figure out where I could store something. I asked God where I might store it. I had a slight feeling to just continue to organize other stuff and not pause or deliberate, and I would find out soon. So that’s what I did, and shortly after, I discovered the perfect place to store the stuff. Do you think that was from God or just my own thinking? It’s something not that important, not like a spiritual issue or even a life’s problem. But yet, I would hope that it was God interacting with me.
Thank you for this conversation. These are issues I have been wondering about for a long time.
YES!!! Yes, I believe that God bothers to answer the trivial matters.
1. How do we know what is trivial? I remember hearing stories after 9/11 about how people were not there that day. People who never missed a day of work decided to call in sick. Some were just running late. One person thought she left her iron on at home. These trivial decisions saved their lives. God knows all things (things we have noway of knowing the importance of), and He wants us to learn to trust Him.
2. God’s really wants us to learn to know Him and love Him. He will use everything in our lives to teach us He is worthy of our pursuit. You are seeking for more of God in your life. You think to ask Him a rather simple question. You feel like He answers you. You obey that impression, and it seemed that the impression was right. Why would we even want to believe that it was not from God? I understand that it would never convince a skeptic that God exists, but you are not a skeptic – you’re a daughter of the all-knowing God. You know He is good, and you are born to live a life of faith.
Rachel, these are great questions. Thank you for bringing them up.
Thanks for another helpful post Kevin. I had not seen this angle before. And particularly the “be careful how you LISTEN in Luke 8:18. Really helpful. Thank you!
Thanks, Guy. I hope you are doing well.
wow! This is interesting. And like you said, we always look at these scripture from a certain view. Your explanation about Luke 8:16, 17 really follows in the whole of that context. The Word of God is the light. Yes, because even David said The Word is LIGHT unto his path. hmmm….. something new today. I am so glad to learn this.
The good news that God wants to speak and reveal His words to me personally is very refreshing. I only pray to be consistent in cultivating and maintaning my soil.
I was thinking earlier today, Please do you know if inconsistency in laying our requests (or prayers) may be one of the reasons for not seeing immediate results?
Thank you for your encouragement. That is an interesting thought regarding inconsistency with our prayers. I would guess it does have something to with delay. Jesus encourages us the power in persistence in prayer with the widow and the unrighteous judge. He heard her request not because he believed in her cause, but because she wore him down. Not that God is unrighteous, but if this judge would listen to her case because her persistence, how much more will our Heavenly Father listen and answer us. Great question. I’m sure God will have more insight for you the more you pray and think through that question.
Amen. Thanks coach
This is a great post Kevin. I love the perspective. Thanks!
Thank you for the encouragement.
I have been struggling with bad health , persecution, and a disabled Lonesome life.
I’ve been praying, listening to inspiring spiritual CDs and everything that I can think to do for the healing that I know Jesus Christ died to give me. However, I’m a survivor of abuse, neglect and incest where I always seem to feel terribly unworthy. I just lost my father last year and my mother and brother betrayed , lied and stole what my dad had left me, especially when I am disabled with Spinal stenosis, degenerative disc, scoliosis and sciatica, which means I have no support from the church I was attending and the loss of my family.
I’m truly sorry for not having the ability to stay on track with anything, since all the Dr is doing is writing me pain prescriptions.
Please pray for me to quit smoking so I can at least be Free!
God bless you and your family and your ministry,
Joretta ( Althea is the name that God gave me after I was delivered from suicide and shooting meth.
Bless you for continuing to press in for more of your healing and breakthrough. Grab people to be around to encourage you in the Lord. Remind each other of His goodness. Praise Him daily… hourly. He is good – all the time. Focus on His goodness for each other. I’m sorry for the things that have happened to you, but right now – more than ever – you need to focus on God’s goodness to you. Ask people to remind you of His goodness and to praise God. Allow His goodness to become so real for you that none of your troubles can speak to your heart. God wants to heal you. He wants you to know Him as your healer and friend. Finding people to walk this with you will be your lifeline during this season. I pray you find it in overabundance.