Aloha Friday Message – July 4, 2017 – True Bread

1728AFC071417 – True Bread

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Matthew 13:18-23 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

(See also Mark 4:13-28 which includes 26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. Also look up Luke 8:11-15 which includes 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And also 15 But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.)

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! You know this story, don’t you? It’s the Parable of the Sower. When we hear sermons or homilies about this passage, we usually talk about the soil into which the seed was sown. In poor conditions, nothing grows. In fair conditions, something grows but with a low yield. In better conditions, more grows with a better yield. In the best-possible conditions, a sower gathers a wonderful yield. All of that yield, whether 30- or 60- or 100-fold, comes from good soil. We could look at it like this:

  • Poor = 0 yield
  • Fair = 30 X yield
  • Better = 60 X yield
  • Best = 100 X yield

That’s usually how we think about it, yes? And we want to be the “good soil” that has the highest yield. There are several not-so-obvious things to consider here:

First, the seed falls wherever the sower casts it. The yield depends, in part, on where it is cast. Throw it on the path, and it won’t yield much – it gets carried off by the birds. Throw it on the good soil, and it grows a lot – if you take good care of the growing crop. Toss it into the weeds, and it gets a good start, but gets choked out. Now, the soil can’t move and try to catch the seed, so it has to passively wait to receive the seed. In 3 of 4 cases, there is some yield, some growth that occurs, but the amount of growth depends on where the seed falls and how well it is take care of after it falls. Selah.

Second, the seed grows in all of those conditions. There is always a yield if the seed is received. While the seed cannot – of its own volition – get up and move over to the best soil, neither can the soil – of its own volition – move over to where the seed is scattered. Where the seed can take root, it does, and it yields what it can.

Third, the seed is the Word of God. As we read in Isaiah 55:10-11 10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Wherever it takes root, it produces as yield.

Fourth, that yield takes time. This is the meaning behind Jesus’ words, “… these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.” When I think of that idea, I am often reminded of a story about the effectiveness of cramming before exams. If one fails to study and then hope to gain enough understanding the night before the exam by staying up all night, it’s a bit like the farmer who sows his crops the week before harvest begins. He probably won’t garner much of a harvest.

Fifth, we also need to look at this from the standpoint of the seed. What happens to a seed that is planted in soil? In the beginning, the ground is broken to receive the seed. Then the seed does what it does – it develops roots, stalk, leaf, and breaks the soil again to enter into the light. Then the seed – which is not there anymore, it’s gone, dead, disappeared – carries on as the new plant with the goal of being fruitful. The seed has to die to unlock the miraculous potential of life within it. Once the fruit comes, the fruit must be harvested. Some if the fruit is retained for future planting. Some of the fruit is drastically altered. It is separated from its husk and boiled, or parched, or crushed into ever-finer powder which is mixed with other ingredients, passes through fire, and becomes bread. It most circumstances, the purpose of the whole process is to provide seed to the sower and bread to the eater.

Bread. It’s one of the most ancient, most basic, most common foods in the world. Bread in some form or another has been part of life for longer than history. Here are a couple of examples.

The one on the left is recognized as one of the most popular and successful manufactured products ever. The one on the right is homemade hearth bread. Most of us have eaten both kinds, and most of us would prefer the sweeter, richer, more substantial hearth bread. Both came from grain sown by the sower, grown by the farmer, milled by the miller, and baked by the baker. In the case of one, it was all commercially produced. In the case of the other, it could have been all personally produced where the eater was also the sower, the farmer, the miller, and the baker. It is still bread, but in one product it is impersonally provided, but not so in the other. It doesn’t take much of my effort to buy one product, or the other for that matter; but if I did all of that myself, I believe I would be happiest with the hearth bread because – as God told Adam – By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread (See Genesis 3:19) We are more like our ancestors when we are “Tilling the Soil.” (Try check that link, brah.)

The Seed is the Word of God and Christ is the sower. If I am a Disciple, I too must sow the seed; and I must sow it everywhere, but take care to sow it where it will be fruitful. I must nurture it. I must patiently persevere. I must make it my mission to provide seed to the sower and bread to the eater. And if I really want to be the perpetuator of seed and bread, I will take a deep, long-term, personal interest in every aspect of bringing in that crop, storing the seed for next year, and baking the bread for today. How about you? Can you see a future in being part of Bread Blessed and Broken? (↔ Music Link) Are we truly One Bread, One Body? (↔ Music Link)  Can you and I grow to our highest potential and give our highest-possible yield? Can we, can you, can I give all of our being to being willing to allow the Word of God to become fruit in our hearts? Will we satisfy the hungry heart with Gifts of Finest Wheat? (↔ Music Link)

Ah, Belovéd, let us be enlightened in the teaching of the Apostle Paul 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written,

“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13 Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Indeed, blesséd be God forever! No, Belovéd, I am not telling you to strive for homemade religion. I am telling you to assiduously cultivate the Word of God in the most fertile regions of your heart with loving care and hopeful perseverance so that you can feed those who hunger for the Word and plant seeds of Faith in the hearts of many. Our mission is to bring the True Bread to everyone who hungers and thirsts after righteousness.

Keep praying for our friends who are struggling with things that can prevent them from being fully fruitful in all their endeavors.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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