How Important Are Our Choices?

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How Important Are Our Choices?

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In His parable about the sower and the seed, Jesus illustrates that people make different choices when they hear God's Word explained to them. In this parable each participant hears the Word of God. But each responds differently to what he hears. You can read the parable in the 13th chapter of Matthew. Jesus recites the parable, then tells what it means.

First He explains the response of one whom God has not yet called. "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside" (Matthew 13:19). He never gets the picture.

Next Jesus explains three different responses from those who understand His message—those whom God has called. God has opened their minds. All three grasp the meaning of Jesus' message. But each one responds differently—and for different reasons.

"But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles" (Matthew 13:20-21). His first response is one of joyful acceptance. But his enthusiasm is quickly quenched. Why? He reacts to pressure from others. He cares more about pleasing people than pleasing God. He is afraid to rock the boat. Conforming to the customs and expectations of his family, friends and society is more important to him than serving God. He wilts under pressure and eventually rejects God's calling.

"Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful" (Matthew 13:22). This person is somewhat different. He is not as concerned about the opinions of his peers. But he does have a problem: He, too, refuses to put God first in his life. He is distracted by other things. Satisfying his personal needs and maintaining his status consume his interest, time and energy. He is too busy serving himself. He has no time left for God, so, through simple neglect, he also rejects God's calling.

"But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Matthew 13:23). This person not only understands God's Word but takes it seriously. He puts it into practice. He changes his life! Of all the examples in this parable, only this person is chosen for salvation. He puts God first in his life. He makes a commitment to God and keeps it. Will we follow His example?