Even in poor ground
1 Timothy 1: 12-17 (NIV)
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
One of my least favourite things about the Parable of the Sower (which runs through the theme this month at Sanctuary First and can be found in Mark 4: 1-20, as well as Matthew and Luke) is that the seeds which don’t have a good time of it are forgotten and not talked about again. Now I know that Jesus was giving a particular message when he told this story to his listeners. In fact he devotes lots of other parables to the idea of the left behind but it still always bugged me. I guess that’s the point of stories.
In this passage from 1 Timothy we hear the apostle Paul giving thanks to God for not being forgotten even though he was, as he points out, the very worst of ground to be planted in: full of weeds and thorns and cruelty that does not bear imagining. I enjoy Paul’s words here as he recognises not only the mercy and grace given to him by God but the fact that he too will become a story, one that will give hope to others and prove that even the worst of people can become the best as they learn to hear God.
God of bad soil, and good
You show mercy to us everyday and we have never done enough to deserve it
Thank you for sending your son to give us stories
Thank you for giving us minds to hear and understand them
Help us please to praise your mercy and live in your grace