SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:8 (TM)
Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.
Ross Cockrane shares the following story in one of his sermons:
She is filled with bitterness as she speaks to me. Jillian (not her real name) has suffered from a stroke and her tears run freely as she recounts once again her desire to live at home.
Those who have power of Attorney have decided that she is best cared for at Shalom, but she doesn’t want to spend the remaining years of her life in an Aged Care Facility. She doesn’t like the room, the people, the food. She has money, so much money, "thousands of dollars," but it is no good to her now.
She looks at me through tears of sheer frustration as her kingdom is beyond her reach. She is bereft and disinherited, with all her money just lying in the bank. In building a kingdom of outward luxury, she has forgotten the kingdom of her heart, those inward resources that would enable her to give thanks in all circumstances and to experience inward joy no matter what she encounters in life. She kicks against the goads and says "I DON’T WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS!" I can understand that. I’ve exclaimed these words with the same anguished vehemence, only she is in danger of losing her sanity and even worse, her own soul.
What sad words, “In building a kingdom of outward luxury, she has forgotten the kingdom of her heart.” The parable of the sower starts coming to a conclusion with, “Some fell on good earth …” Often, too often, the “good earth” of our own heart is ignored or forgotten. The kingdom of the heart becomes a stepchild to our sowing of spiritual seed.
Failing to take the time to cultivate a spiritual relationship with God has dire consequences… future consequences as “Jillian” discovered. We forget to feed our soul at our own spiritual peril. The “house” that we building now is the “house” we have to live in later. The “later” doesn’t include stuff we might have accumulated over the years, but it does include our friends and family as well as the relationship with the heavenly Father.
*"Bill" was already an old gentleman when I first met him. Within that first year of ministry he had a massive stroke, but unlike “Jillian” he could not speak nor effectively communicate his wishes to those who were around him. Visiting him was a challenge because it was a one-way experience. Many times he wouldn’t even turn his head to face me as I tried to converse with him. I began to take an old prayer book with me on those visits and simply sit there reading several passages from scripture.
Both his family and those who attended to his medical needs asked if I could come more often than just once a month. “Why,” I asked. “Because he is much calmer after your visits,” they responded. It was then that I discovered that during the many years after the death of his spouse "Bill" would spend every evening sitting in his favorite chair reading from the Bible. What I was doing was causing his spirit to walk along a familiar path, a path often walked by him spiritually. He was living now in the kingdom of his heart. I simply reminded him of what he had built over those years… and it brought peace.
*I never use the real names of the people involved in my stories without their permission and most often their "story" is a combination of many experiences drawn from a long ministry.
Most gracious God help us build a kingdom of the heart which will be the last abode for us here on earth.