High Prairie Branch,
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
While on the earth, the Saviour taught the people through parables. A parable is a story or analogy using every day circumstances which teaches a spiritual lesson. Each parable has a number of layers that are discovered through study and a listening heart. Those listening are able to hear the lesson they need, or are ready, to understand.
The parable of the sower is a beautiful example. This simple analogy relates the planting of a garden or field – something we are all familiar with. Four different situations are described: seeds that fall by the wayside; seeds planted in stony ground that don’t take root; seeds growing amongst thorns; and seeds planted in good soil.
Dallin H. Oaks explains, “The parable of the sower warns us of circumstances and attitudes that can keep those who have received the gospel message from bringing forth a goodly harvest.”
He then details those circumstances and attitudes that we must be careful of as followers [the seeds by the wayside are not addressed as this interpretation of the parable is meant for those who have a belief in the Savior’s teachings]:
- Stony Ground, No Root – This describes individuals who have heard and like the Savior’s teachings, but when trials and opposition comes they are pulled away by worldly views. To avoid not taking root in our spiritual beliefs, we must match or exceed our worldly influences with spiritual ones. Are we allowing time in our busy schedules to focus on spiritual priorities and centering our thoughts on the Saviour? Another aspect of this is avoiding a “keyhole” view of the gospel. Do we have our favourite doctrinal points and commandments, but ignore the rest of the Saviour’s teachings because they do not interest us or suit our lifestyle?
- Thorns: The Cares of the World and the Deceitfulness of Riches – Oaks outlines six cares and worries that become thorns in our lives, choking out our potential to produce good fruit. They are:
- The love of wealth and material goods;
- Trivial distractions;
- An entitlement mentality;
- A paralyzing fear of the future;
- Putting the cares of this world ahead of the things of God.
- Fell into Good Ground and Brought Forth Fruit – We can prepare ourselves and have a good spiritual harvest by setting our priorities and seeking to be rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. How? By praying, scripture study, serving others, partaking of His sacrament, and seeking a change of heart.
We can all examine our hearts and find which patch of the garden we are planted in. Are we stone-hearted with no strong root in the Saviour’s teachings? Are our lives filled with thorns that are choking out our desire to follow the Saviour? Or are we firmly planted in good soil and do we earnestly seek to live what we believe?
Next week: Retired Pastor Pat Duffin.