** Posting delayed due to power outages as a result of Hurricane Michael**
Scripture: Luke 8:1-15
Reflection: John Calvin begins his most famous theological work with the idea that, “knowledge of God and of self is the beginning of wisdom.” And, boy, do we love to learn about ourselves! I remember the first Seventeen magazine I ever read in middle school, and how my friends and I used to spend sleepovers administering personality quizzes from those kinds of magazines, trying as best we could to get some glimmer of understanding about who we were as we grew older. Those personality quizzes may no longer be published, but surely we have all run across similar tests on social media – What holiday best describes your personality? What character on Friends are you most like? And more people than ever can tell you their Enneagram type or Myers Briggs type these days. We love to know about ourselves.
I think that is why when we read a parable like this one, we tend to get fixated on finding ourselves in the story, when we would do well to consider what it tells us about who God is. We spend so much time considering whether we are like the rocky soil, or the thorny ground, and how we can be more like the good soil and let the word of God take root in us. These are all worthy considerations – and as Calvin taught, knowing ourselves can help us to grow wiser – but have you ever stopped to marvel at the farmer in the parable? This farmer continues to throw out seed, without a thought about the quality of the soil or concern over running out of supplies, knowing that some seed will be thrown in vain and some will be utterly lost. It seems to me that when we get fixated on the “knowledge of self” part of this parable, we overlook the “knowledge of God” part — and, in the case of this parable, we risk missing a staggering picture of the abundance of God’s grace. God gives, and then gives some more — not because we deserve it, but because God’s fundamental character is radical generosity. The poet Wendell Berry puts it nicely: “Like the water of a deep stream, love is always too much.” So it is with God and us.
Prayer: Gracious God, awaken me to the gifts you give me each and every day, so that I might, in turn, become more generous. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].