Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. 14 As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 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.
This passage ends with words that are unfamiliar to our post-modern culture: “patient endurance”. Many of us experience an impatient world that expects things to be done immediately, traffic to clear out of the way NOW, and people to instantly change their behaviour. There is no room for the person who steadily chips away at the paint of life – we want the blowtorch that instantly strips off anything we do not like.
In the place of this relentless pursuit of instant gratification, St Paul suggests that our lives will bear good fruit when we learn the practice of “patient endurance”. This is the recognition that most positive change in human life is incremental, and as a result of daily application. The invitation for today is to choose one aspect of your life that you want to improve, and to choose to address it every day until it become a new habit.
Ordinary 16 / Pentecost +9
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 237.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.