On Rocky Ground

June 17, 2013
by Ron Nichol

There it was, just ahead of me on the sidewalk: a familiar, bright yellow dandelion, the harbinger of spring, growing out of a narrow crack in the concrete pavement. Somehow, a lone seed from the previous year had landed in the crack and found enough fertile soil to take root and bloom. It brought to mind a recent sermon on the parable of the sower and the seeds.

Luke 8:5-8 – A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. (NIV 2011)

For me, the most pertinent point of the sermon was that even some of the seeds that landed on rocky ground could eventually come into bloom. I lived for many years on skid row as an alcoholic, and the soil of my soul had become very rocky ground. It was hardened, poisoned, and covered by the rocks of despair from the starkness of my daily grind for survival. I was emotionally and spiritually dead, detached from life, from self, and, most importantly, from God. Although many of God's servants sowed the seeds of salvation, I was totally incapable of responding. Some people even turned away from me in frustration, feeling that their best efforts were being wasted on me. I felt that I had been abandoned to the dismal fate of an alcoholic death.

I now firmly believe that it was the Spirit of almighty God that came to me one night as I sat behind a green dumpster, drinking a bottle of rum. I had an insight, a voice as clear as a bell, a gentle voice from within me that said, "You were not born to live this way. You were not meant to die this way." That luminous moment of insight was the beginning of my journey towards Jesus, towards the light of life.

The living seed of God, sown by the servants of God years before, began to blossom in the dry soil of my soul. The Lord Jesus gently led me to the foot of His cross, where I eventually knelt, confessed my sinfulness, and admitted my need of His all-saving grace. All honour and glory be to God, for without His saving grace, I would still be counted amongst the lost souls. I will also be eternally grateful for all of God's people who, with patience and persistence, continued to sow the seeds of salvation. Today, through the eternal message of the gospel, I am able to love without fear, to embrace life with all of its vagaries, and to live life to its fullest.

The important point is that as Christians, we ought never to turn away from people in desperate and disparate circumstances, no matter whether we feel that our best efforts to sow the seeds of our Lord are landing on deaf ears. We never know when or where those seeds will take root and flourish in even the most broken of souls. By the great commission left by Jesus, we, His friends and servants, are to be the sowers of the seeds, the fishers of souls. It is to be left to God alone, through His will and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to furnish the nourishment of His grace, so that some of the seeds that we sow may someday thrive, even in the most rock-strewn and desolate of human hearts.

Prayer: Dear Lord, with Your help and grace, may we become sowers of the seeds of Your Word, and may Your seeds return to you a hundredfold. May we always in word and deed give witness to the redeeming love and grace of Your Son, our dear Lord Jesus. Amen.

About the author:

Ron Nichol

Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Powerful Ron. God is good.


    Bless you for your story and God’s part in it!


    Good one Ron and Halleluiah. Thanks be to God.


    Thank you, Ron, for an excellent point, well illustrated. God obviously gave you the gift of writing with which to sow seed.


    Thank you for sharing the power of God’s grace in your life. Very inspiring and well written with such important messages. God bless and keep you and encourage you to write again.


    Thank you so much for writing and telling us your story. It was very moving. May God continue to bless and love you and may you continue to accept his love and blessings.


    Ron, thank you for sharing your journey to faith with us. You give me hope for my brother who languishes in a mental hospital the victim of schizophrenia. May our Lord free all those held prisoner by poor life choices and disease. Blessings.


    Thank you Ron, for this.
    God bless,
    (Texas)


    Dear Ron,
    That’s a big Amen Brother!
    (England)


    Dear Ron,
    I really enjoy your story “On Rocky Ground”.
    Thank you.


    Hallelujah! Glory be to God on high! To the Triune Majesty!
    A joy to read your story from lost to found!
    Be blessed and know it!


    Dear Ron,
    Thank you for writing. Your testimony and words were powerful.
    May you receive special blessings from the Lord today.


    Dear Ron:
    Thank you for sharing your story. I understand where you came from having been there myself. Praise God for our salvation.
    I pray that the Lord will bless you now and always. Please keep writing.


    Ron,
    The depth of your personal sharing, I’m confident will reach it’s way to the hearts of those who will benefit from it.
    Blessings,
    (CA)


    Ron, thank you for sharing about yourself and this important message. I’m a recovering alcoholic myself who by the Grace of God and The AA program and Lots of prayers and suppot of others I have been clean and sober for over 30 years. My prayers are with you my friend and please by the Grace of God may we continue to help Others. Again, Thank you.


    Good Morning Ron,
    Thank you for your very poignant devotional. Congratulations on your sobriety and on hearing, accepting and allowing His love to bring you to this place of peace within you.
    While I know we have no control over what music accompanies our devotionals, this one of yours is very appropriate.
    May you continued to be inspired and bless us with your writing.


    Thanks Ron for sharing your testimony with everyone. What we all need to remember when we see a person as down and out as you described yourself, is that although we might have given up hope, God never gives up on anybody. I am sure it is because God lives in the present tense all the time and with it in the ever present time of His love for everyone, regardless of what we might think.
    Blessings.


    Ron
    What a brave testimony. Thanking God for your honesty and obedience to His call.
    I have forwarded this to a friend whose son is sliding down a slippery path, because of drink and drugs. As Christians is is painful to watch a loved one unable to control substances, but there is not much can be done until they decide to change themselves.
    God’s blessings to you and thank you for sharing your testimony.


    Thank you. One of my current prayers has been concerning some of the people I have/have not been praying for. Today more than ever I was begging His forgiveness for not having done a very good, faithful job over the years of praying for the ones who seem to be impervious and entirely resistant to The Lord. I wonder if it was sheer arrogance and self centredness that led me to be so inconsistent, and now, I’m more mature and know a little more, and have begun to realize that our prayers are to be from His point of view, not our own. It feels very ‘bad’ to think that someone I love might have lost out because of my decision not to ‘spend my prayer time’ on a lost cause.
    What a great testimony you have, and what a great difference your story has made to my sense of dedication to pray for everyone, not just the ones who respond favourably. Blessings on you for being willing to share this rendition of God’s wonderful “saving Grace”.


    Thank-you so very much Ron for sharing your story. Yes, we sure have a faithful and loving Lord haven’t we!
    Blessings on the rest of your days.


    Dear Ron,
    Thank you for your wonderful mesage. It serves as a reminder to us that we must never give up our efforts to help those we love no matter what their problems may be.
    Blessings.


    Dear Ron,
    This is a wonderful message to remind us that we should NEVER give up on those who are not responding to our words and to always keep them in our prayers.
    Thank you for having the courage to tell your story; it will be a big help to so many no matter what their particular battle may be.
    Blessings.


    Hi Ron,
    This is an excellent reminder of where we all have come from, and we can say, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” While it may not be the rocky soil, it may be the wayside, and we may not even be aware, as in my case, “that at my people perish for lack of knowledge.”
    Thank you for confirming what the Lord, in His mercy, revealed to me about my condition some time ago.
    May our Father continue to bless you with His revelations, and may you continue to share them.


    Thank you for sharing, Ron, your powerful message highlighting that none may be lost no matter the current or past circumstances, when Father’s people reach out in love and obedience.
    We must always pay attention to Holy Spirit prompting, no matter how much satan tries to tell us we’re wasting our time or funds.
    Every time our Lord shows his love for the lost and needy through us we receive a great blessing also.

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