Read 2 Samuel 7:4-17, Ps. 89:4-5,27-30, Mark 4:1-20

“But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20)

Having successfully brought back the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem alongside its accompanying rituals, David (out of a deep sense of gratitude to God who elevated him from the status of a shepherd boy to that of a king at just thirty) was not comfortable with the fact that he lived in a house of cedar. The Ark of God dwelt in a tent. David’s desire to build a temple was a fruit of his well-grounded faith in God. Going by Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel passage, David represents the seed that fell on good soil. Let us now examine our lessons for today:

1. Giving to God is an Expression of Faith: In a developing nation like Nigeria, many pastors and priests are burdened with raising funds for Church projects. Why must we organise special chieftaincy titles to get people to give? Why should there be a third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh collection? Why do we invite speakers or hire musicians to make people donate? In his second letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes: “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Nathan did not preach to David that “failure to tithe would make things tight for him.” The temple was not even Nathan’s idea. David felt deep within him the need to show appreciation to God. Giving to God expresses your faith. If your faith is large enough to acknowledge that everything you have comes from God, then like seeds sown in good soil, you would easily consider doing something to appreciate God.

2. Learn to Pray before Making Decisions: As King of Israel, David had all the resources to construct a temple fitting for God, but he consulted with Nathan, the priest. Immediately, Nathan gave David a green light. Nathan later discovered his mistake when God sent a message that David was not qualified to build the temple. Don’t be too quick to answer or decide. Consult with God. Even Jesus spent a whole night in prayer before selecting the apostles. Thank God Nathan was humble enough to acknowledge his mistake and politely tell David not to proceed with the plan.

3. Gratitude Opens the Door for More Blessings: Although God did not allow David to build the temple, God blessed David still to teach us that His blessings are not for sale. You don’t have to give anything. Just be grateful. Many Christians approach God with a mercantile attitude; they believe that the bigger the seed, the bigger the harvest. God is not a money doubler. If your giving is just an investment, you are wasting it. Do not be deceived by false preachers. Note that David’s blessings were not for David per se but for his generation. These blessings only began after David’s death, and part of that blessing was that Jesus Christ took flesh in David’s bloodline.

4. Same Seed yet Different Soils: In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus illustrates why God’s Words do not work for some persons. The seeds sown had the potential to grow, but they needed the cooperation of the soil. Jesus did not work many miracles in his hometown because many lacked faith. Those who think the Church is a scam will always see reasons to justify their belief, yet those who believe in God deeply are never disappointed. Instead of changing the seed, we should change the soil. Instead of trying to change the Bible (or change our doctrine) to suit our modern culture, let us pray for deeper faith in God.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, create in me a pure heart – a rich soil, that I may bear abundant fruits for you. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop, Doctor. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 7:4-17, Ps. 89:4-5,27-30, Mark 4:1-20).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu