Our church choir used to sing an upbeat song called I’ve been Changed. It’s a fun song to sing actually I can’t remember many of the words. I do remember the chorus though, it says.
I’ve been changed,
I’ve been newborn,
all my life has been rearranged.
What a difference it made,
when the Lord came and stayed,
in my heart, oh yes I’ve been changed.
The focus of the song is on that moment when someone chooses a “personal relationship” with Jesus and how that has changed their life. Whether or not you are a Christian who believes that personal relationship is important or not, I think we can all agree that following Jesus does make a difference, or a change in our lives.
The thing for me is though, that I don’t focus on one specific occasion where my life was changed. Yes there was a day, when I made a decision to follow Jesus…but that’s not been the only time my life has changed. It can’t be for any of us, our lives constantly change as we grow and develop as human beings and as we gain new information over time.
So while I have been changed, I am also changing.
I used to read the parable of the sower as an evangelical text, where we are the sower scattering the seed around. I used to think it was Jesus way of preparing his followers for the fact that not everyone is going to hear and understand the message of salvation. That may be true, but I have come to recognize that I am not the sower, God is.
I also used to read the text as though it applies to others only. I used to read that since I have accepted Jesus that I am the good soil, those who have not are the bad soil.
Isn’t it the truth though, that at different points during my walk of faith that I am all the different kinds of soil?
There are times when I am an example of the seed thrown on the path. There have been times when I have not fully understood the word of God and therefore it has sometimes been snatched away. Like a time where I have an opportunity to show God’s grace and love to someone and missed it because I was not in tune with what God was trying to teach me.
Then there are other times when my life reflects the seed thrown on the rocky path, where I have immediately received the word but then lost my excitement. Camps, congresses, retreats, conferences, discussions…they’ve all happened in my life and at some of them I’ve become so excited about the gospel of Jesus Christ that I can’t wait to get my hands dirty when I get home. Then I get home and wake up the next day, and feel like I have more of a hangover than the excitement I felt.
Still other times my life reflects the seed thrown among the thorns, where my desire for material possession or even my focus on the world and living comfortably in it, trump what God has called me to do.
And thankfully, sometimes my life also reflects the seed thrown on the good soil. The times where I “get” it and live it out.
I share this with you because I think we’re all like that, the parable is about US, not about THEM. We’re all like each of the places the seed is scatters, and thankfully for us…the sower keeps on sowing.