Our blog series this month is called “How to Have Spiritual Conversations with your Kids.” This week, we asked Annie Pajcic, founder of Thou Art Exalted, to write a devotional for parents. For other posts in this series, click 3 Simple Ways to Understand Scripture and 3 Ways to Pass Down Scripture.
Dirty Dishes & Sowing Seeds:
A Devotional for Parents by Annie Pajcic
Guest Post by Annie Pajcic
I walked into the house, and the dishes were still in the sink. Sigh.
“Winnie, when I ask you to do something, I mean that you do it … quickly.”
Did she not hear me? Or was she not listening? I’m confident my words fell with great intention, but even the best intentions fall short without application. My words were simply snatched up by a better offer. Maybe she received a phone call or a notification from snap chat? Or perhaps her mind was preoccupied with the “worry” she was carrying around from last night’s conversation.
I, on the other hand, heard every word of instruction. I think I even listened to my mother’s voice come through. “Annie, when I ask you to do something, I mean that you do it.”
Maybe I was hearing the words of Jesus that I taught last week from Luke 8:4-15 on the Parable of the Sower.
Wait a second. The Parable of the Sower is when Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of God and a farmer scattering seed that falls on different types of soils. It’s about birds, rocks, withering plants, thorns, and disciples who don’t understand what Jesus is teaching. What on earth does that have to do with dirty dishes?
Dirty dishes and the Parable of the Sower have everything to do with hearing, understanding, and taking action.
He hears, but…
As Jesus teaches a large crowd using the illustration of farming to explain the Kingdom of God, He tells us three times that the person hears God’s Word, but ….
He hears, but … the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they might not believe and be saved (Luke 4:12).
He hears, but … they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away (Luke 4:13).
He hears, but … as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature (Luke 4:14).
Jesus makes it very clear that God is the farmer, the Word is the Seed, and the enemy is doing his best to steal, kill, and destroy God’s Word from our hearts. Through busyness, trials, testing, troubles, worry, fun, and the riches of this world, Satan’s ultimate goal is that we won’t hear the word and take action. As my mom used to say, “In one ear and out the other.”
Here’s the danger. When we don’t take the time to hear, understand, and step forward in faith, we will never believe in Jesus and be saved. These subtle tactics of the enemy prevent the power of Scripture to take root in the soil of our hearts. No root means no fruit. No fruit means no harvest. No harvest means no one with which to share the good news. The seed gets trampled as we are consumed by busyness, surrounded by troubles, and drowning in worry. It sounds like dirty dishes to me.
Satan wants nothing more than for us to soak in a sin-filled, stained sink, crusted with leftover troubles and doubts with no chance of getting clean any time soon. He is dirty and plays dirty. His desire for us and our children is to be so distracted by the things of this world that we don’t hear the true words of Christ. Satan knows that only a personal belief in Jesus will wash us clean and free us from the bondage of our past mistakes and fears. That’s why his goal is to clog our hearing.
Jesus is teaching that hearing isn’t enough. We need to ask questions and take time to understand God’s Word if we want to have a rich faith that steps out into action. Jesus reveals the meaning of the parable only after the disciples admit that they are seriously confused. (On a side note, this always makes me feel better. If the disciples were asking questions, then I can, too!) Luke 4:9-10 is an excellent connection between hearing the Word, understanding, and taking action.
“His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,”‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ “This is the meaning of the parable: …” Luke 8:9-11(NIV)
Jesus knew His audience well. He knew there would be people with ears to hear, minds to understand, and hearts of good soil ready to receive and plant God’s Word. He also knew there were people in the crowd, perhaps Pharisees and Sadducees, that would “see” Jesus but never recognize Him as the Messiah. They would “hear” His words, but never take the action needed for the seed to take root. These people were blinded to “the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom” because their hearts were closed, stained by legalism and man-made traditions. They would never understand Jesus and His words because they would not surrender to stand under the authority of the One standing before them.
That’s the heart of the parable. To understand is to stand-under. To understand is to take time to hear, listen, ask questions, and put our faith into action. To understand is to put our agendas aside and trust in Jesus. To understand is to see the dishes, hear your mom’s instructions, and wash them with your best abilities.
James says this so well.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22-25, NIV)
Annie Pajcic is the founder of ThouArtExalted, which combines the study of God’s Word with Annie’s passion for the arts. With 1 Chronicles 29:11 as a guide, ThouArtExalted provides art-based Bible studies, free devotions, speaking events, art camps, conferences, and online resources to help women, teens, and tweens deepen a relationship with Jesus.
Make sure to check out A SEED TO SOW, her new series for tween/teen girls!
For more on our blog series, How to Have Spiritual Conversations with your Kids, check out: