Good Soil

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I’ve been reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love the last few days. In Chapter Four, “Profile of the Lukewarm,” he issues this warning:

Do not assume you are the good soil.

But of course we are the good soil. We’re in church virtually every Sunday, tithe (at least on the net), stay married, and have polite kids. Isn’t that the definition of good soil?

Maybe not. Maybe that is the definition of the place where the seeds were planted, but the fledging plant was so overwhelmed by the thorns of the world’s cares that it suffocated. Perhaps we are the exact profile of the cultural Christian, rather than the radicals Jesus called us to be.

Frederic Huntington said, “It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.”

Two years ago, at the beginning of this economic downturn, I had an extended conversation with a wealthy businessman about the financial prospects for our work with street kids. He warned me: “When money gets tight, people will stop giving. They will not change their lifestyles, or even give up the extras. They will quit giving.” He was right.

It is in difficult times like these, when we have to make a choice between comfort and giving, between having all we want and the needs of others, that we show whether — or not — the gospel has truly taken root in good soil.

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