Daily Devotional – Tuesday, June 8, 2021
“The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.” (Luke 8:13, NLT)
I remember the summer I spent at Camp Seton in Manitoba quite fondly. The camp was run by Camp Arnes for the slightly more adventurous and was located on leased crown land. We were entirely ‘off-grid’…no electricity, no running water and no contact with the outside world. We were required to wash our clothes with a scrub board, take showers using our improvised water barrel (which you had to fill by hand and light a fire underneath if you wanted your shower to be warm), sleep in chuck wagons that had been outfitted with bunkbeds and cook all your meals over a campfire. I loved it…despite the coyotes, poison ivy and soreness from all-day trail rides!
During that summer I learned many things as a camp counselor…about God, about people and about nature. For instance, while attempting to demonstrate the need for teamwork to collect wood for our cooking fire with minimal hardware, I made an interesting and very helpful discovery. In the area of the camp, we had a lot of standing deadwood poplar trees, but no axe to cut them down. Turns out you don’t need an axe. Smaller poplars are easily pushed over by hand, dragged to the desired area and then cut apart into sections using a handsaw. How is it that a tree that has grown to twenty feet in height is so easily pushed over? Minimal roots. The particular stand of poplars we had access to was dense with younger trees having grown up quickly, but whose root system remained shallow. In dry seasons, which this particular area of Manitoba experiences quite often, the trees easily die. Voila! Firewood.
When I read Jesus’ explanation of the seed that is thrown on rocky soil, grows up quickly, but ultimately dies for lack of a good root system, I can’t help but think of those poplar trees and of our own spiritual growth. During that same summer, I had a camper who came to camp intent on playing the part of the rebel. Black make-up, hair fanned out and sprayed in place in the punk style of the day and fully determined to take on anyone who gave her even a sideways look. She was fully prepared for a fight, but she was totally unarmed against the love that she experienced. Over the course of the week, I saw her let down her guard and in a vulnerable moment she shared how her brother, whom she had been very close to, had committed suicide. In our devotional times I was able to share about God and I could see her becoming open to His truth. I wish she could have stayed longer, given the Holy Spirit more time to work on her heart, because of what happened on the day that parents arrived to pick up their children.
The black make-up and punk style had disappeared after the first day of camp; she had found acceptance even when attempting to push others away and hadn’t felt the need to put on the rebellious front. That all changed the morning she was to go home. In preparation for seeing her mother, she put her shell back on. She had experienced acceptance and God’s love at the camp and had allowed His Holy Spirit to soften her heart, but her ‘spiritual roots’ hadn’t had enough time to grow deep. We had gotten to see another side of her, but as soon as our time was up, she went right back into her old world—her heart hardened against the seed of truth that had begun to grow. The temptation to revert proved to be too enticing. The hurt of her heart still too raw.
God’s love is available to all; He wants a relationship with each one of us. But my experience reminds me, that while we can receive this truth gladly, if we do not allow that love to fill us and cause us to grow deep roots, we may find ourselves unanchored in the face of the hurts of life, unable to resist the temptation to let go of the love we have experienced. A shallow understanding of God’s love may leave us susceptible to being pushed over, because we’ve not learned to allow it to sustain us during difficult times. We all need to allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts, growing ever more deeply in our confidence of and obedience to our loving, heavenly Father.
~ Pastor Jane
#hopechapel #devotional #growdeep #Luke8 #collingwoodchurch
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!