The seed sowing story is the cypher that unlocks all of the parables.
Jesus said, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?” (Mark 4:13 NLT)
One facet that I’d like to shine a light on today is the man who sowed on shallow soil, namely a shallow experience of God and a cursory knowledge of His Word. With no root in himself the scorching challenges of life sweep in, and his commitment is washed away.
This creative life requires a rooted “why?”
I find myself way too often asking the “how?” question. It’s relevant, and not wrong to ask, but is only a few layers deep. Why do I say that? Because just knowing “how” never guarantees that we’ll do it, even when we do have the instructions.
I see it often, in my own life and the lives of those around me. Most of the time we have a goal. We may even state it and make it public. We then excuse our inactivity toward that goal by pretending we don’t know-how.
But most of the time I have found that I DO know the next step I need to take. The problem is, for whatever bizarre reason, I am stubbornly refusing to take it. The reasons run deeper than just lack of knowledge.
How many people know they need to exercise and don’t. Is it because their HOW is weak? Nope. It’s their WHY that needs work!
Or the would-be book writer? The budding business entrepreneur?
Our craving for security and defined and definite outcomes dons binoculars and looks way off in the distance. Let’s take fitness as our example, but the same is true for your creative projects.
Instead of looking for the next step, a few press-ups, and a gentle jog around the block, our binocular vision sees the bronzed adonis we think we want to become, and the “how?” of that vision is simply impossible. We throw in the towel before we do our first rep.
We look into the distance and see the bestselling author life we long to lead, not the first paragraph of chapter 1 we should sit down and write today.
I’m not wanting to minimize the power of dreaming or visionary framing of the future. Just pointing out that sometimes such inflated expectations leave us floundering emotionally.
Breakthrough comes when we feed our WHY with reality. Why the adonis dream? Because the television, magazines, and media, have painted an unrealistic picture of what constitutes manliness or womanhood? Why the big dream of stage fame or musical glory? Because the measure of the world always parades numbers (often preceded by a dollar sign) as the only rule of worth.
Your WHY must root deeper than that.
You have a designed and significant purpose on this planet, given by God Himself. Unfortunately, the world thrusts its inch-deep reasons upon us through social media, movies, magazines, cereal packets, and posters, until our resolve is so drowned in their noise that we can hardly hear our own heart speak.
Why do I write?
Is it for the dollars and the fame? Ask my 15 followers (exaggeration deliberate for emphasis) and they will tell you. Ask my bank how money flows out to care for my kids and daily needs as quickly as it pours in and they will let you know.
Art and passion are not counted in pennies alone.
I’m blessed to be able to say I pay my way with my words. Thank God, because I’m a head and heart man, not a handy one. Ask me to build a website or write a book, I’m your man. Ask me to hang a shelf, and you’d better get ready to make a call to someone else to rectify the disaster I leave in my wake.
But once you get beyond the basics and the bill are paid, you better be sure you have an enduring sense of purpose that goes beyond meeting your immediate needs. That way when your securities are challenged, or criticism comes, you’ll have a deeply rooted WHY undergirding your business and the way you show up in the world.
I’m saying all of this because storms will blow. Challenges will come. The artistic, entrepreneurial life is not a millpond, it’s an ocean. There will be times when you lay back and contemplate the stars with wonder filling your heart, and others when you’ll be hunkered down shielding yourself from the driving rain, wondering why in the world you set out from shore.
In those moments, it will be your WHY that keeps you afloat.
Why do I write? Because words are my world. God has called me and anointed me to penetrate hearts with truth and beauty, bringing His Kingdom to bear on the reader’s soul.
I’m called to equip saints for ministry and lead the unbeliever to repentance and recognition.
My words are His works emblazoned on the page.
He is my muse, and I am His ready writer. God’s quill.
My joy is His glory, to lift His name, and accept and express who He has made me to be.
For you, it may a song, paint on canvas, or Youtube videos. It could be cakes on plates or hats on heads. God is not limited in His expressions. The only limitation He faces is our willingness and obedience, or lack of it.
Will you be true to your heavenly call?
I can think of no deeper WHY than God and His purpose at work in our hearts.
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13 KJV)
Work out what He is working in and all will be well.