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#85 #BeTheSower

Summary:

You've probably heard the Parable of the Sower, and that we're called to make our hearts good soil, ready to receive God's Word.  But what about our call to be sowers, to be people who plant the seeds of the Gospel?  Y2AM has a special challenge for you this Advent: are you ready to #BeTheSower?

Questions:

1) Why do we fast for the Nativity Feast?

2) Why must we spread the message of God?

3) Why did Saint Paul go to Athens?

4) How can sowing a seed within somebody lead to salvation?

Links:

Bible Gateway, Acts 17

Bible Gateway, Matthew 13

Mystagogy, The Nativity Fast

Orthodox Way of Life, Nativity Fast

Script:

Hey everybody, this is Steve and we're asking you to help us share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world. You've probably heard the parable of the sower before. Matthew, Mark and Luke each include it in their Gospel accounts. In the parable, a farmer is sowing his seeds, throwing them onto his land. And as he sows them, some fall into good soil, but some don't, some fall on the path where they get crushed under foot, some fall amongst the rocks where they dry up, others fall amongst the thorns where they get choked. And when we talk about this parable, we usually focus on where the seeds fell and how we can make our heart receptive to God's word which is really important. The soil of our hearts needs to be worked on to become humble and patient. Good soil ready to receive God's seeds, His Commandments, His mercy, His Salvation. 

That's a really important part of our lives as Christians, opening ourselves up to God's grace. Yet, as Christians, were not simply called to receive God's Word, we're called to share it. We're called to be sowers. And the sower needs to be persistent, sowing as often as he can in the hopes that some will take root. It's a metaphor I've often heard clergy use when talking about their sermons. After all, when you're standing in front of the congregation, talking about Christ, all you can really do is plant seeds. It's up to the listeners to decide whether their hearts are going to allow those seeds to take root. But it's not a metaphor that should only apply to clergy. Each and every one of us can work to sow the seeds of the Gospel, to plant the Good News of Christ in the hearts of our friends and neighbors. And this is especially true during Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord, Christ's Coming into the world, because by sharing the Gospel, by sowing the Good News of Christ in the hearts of those around us, we're bringing Christ into their lives. So, here at Y2AM, we have a challenge for you. 

November 15 is the first day of Advent and just like every Lenten period, it's an opportunity to pray more, to fast more, to give alms, to work to turn our hearts into the good soil that's prepared to receive God. It's also an opportunity to help bring Christ into the lives of our family, our friends, and our neighbors, to sow the seed of the Gospel and pray that it takes root. Because if we really believe that Christ is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, if we really believe that He took on flesh and died with us so we can rise with Him, then we should be doing what Christians have been doing from the very beginning. We should be sharing that Good News with everyone, being the bee, bringing them the life and joy of the Gospel. So, it's our challenge to you this Advent to be the sower, to plant at least one seed each and every day. 

Maybe that means inviting somebody to Liturgy with you this Sunday, or maybe it means inviting somebody to your youth or young adult group during the week, maybe it means sharing your favorite episode of "Be the Bee" with someone who could benefit from watching it. Maybe it means sharing a book or a blog post that's helped your faith with someone who's struggling in theirs. Maybe it means inviting someone to serve your community with you, to work with you to offer something to those in need. Maybe it means putting your hand on someone's shoulder and praying with them when times are tough. Maybe it means showing someone mercy and forgiveness when they've hurt you. Regardless of what you do, it means planting the seed of the Gospel each and every day. Seeds are small, so it doesn't necessarily take grand acts or long sermons to spread God's word. 

The most magnificent trees in the forest started out as small acorns. We can all do these small things, small acts of love and kindness, sharing little bits of encouragement, proclaiming God's Good News in a gentle voice to sow seeds this Advent. And, like the sower in the parable, we should be prepared that some of our seeds won't come anywhere close to bearing fruit which can be disappointing, maybe even demoralizing, at least in the short term. It can be discouraging for the sower to think of all the seeds he worked so hard to sow, seeds which never end up producing any fruit. But you're not alone. Even Saint Paul had this experience in Athens. When he stood up and told the Athenians about Jesus Christ, God, who became man and was crucified, resurrected and ascended for us, didn't really go so well.

"Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, 'We will hear you again about this'. So Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed..." Yeah, some people believed, but more people doubted or even made fun of Paul and his message. In that moment, Paul could have given up, he could have been discouraged, but he continued to trust in God that the Holy Spirit is at work among all people, so he continued to spread the Good News of the Gospel everywhere he went. In our own lives, we have two options, we can be discouraged and give up when we don't see the fruit of our sowing, or we can be like Paul, grab more seeds and start sowing again. 

Because God has asked us to be faithful in a simple, yet really important task, to sow His seeds willingly and to everyone. To sow those seeds and put our trust in God because it's God, not us who makes things grow. So let's Be the Bee and sow the seeds of God's love to everyone this Advent. Be the Bee and Live Orthodoxy. Remember to like and subscribe and share. I'll see you all next week.

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