|Vol. 16 No. 2 February 2014||
In Bible times, many fields were sown with grain during the planting season. A person would walk through the field with a sack over one shoulder. He would take handfuls of seed and throw seed out around him as he walked through the field.
The soil in Palestine is very rocky. At times it is nothing but rocks. Sometimes rocks are cleared from an area so that planting can be done in good soil. People literally made paths as they walked through the fields. There were no sidewalks, so people tended to follow the path that others had taken to walk through the fields. This ground became hard along these paths. These were known as the waysides. Then, of course, there was the very good soil.
The seed that fell on the stony ground could start to grow, but it could not really make a root system. Thus, when the sun beat down, it withered and died. The seed that fell on the side could not begin to grow. The birds ate it up before it could begin to grow. This is because the seed was out in the open where it could be seen by the birds. The seed that fell on the good ground was able to take root and grow.
In Matthew 13, Jesus told the Parable of the Sower. In the parable, God is the Sower and individuals are the ground. The difference between real ground and real persons is that persons make a choice as to what type of ground they are. Jesus came to earth to sow the seed of the kingdom. Some listened to Him and some did not.
Today, God sows the seed through the written Word and Christians. Some of the seed will fall on good ground and some of it will fall on stony ground and the waysides. What type of soil are you? Will God the Sower find you to be good ground? Will you bring forth fruit like you should (Matthew 13:23)?
Keep reading your Bible. Study it and obey what God wants you to do. Be fruitful, and if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
Donald R. Fox
Viktor Emil Frankl (1905-1997) was a Holocaust survivor. He wrote about his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. Via online Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, I noticed the following quote “Viktor Frankl often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of men to exist: decent and unprincipled ones.” An interesting observation, “only two races of men exist: decent or unprincipled.”
The word “decent” is defined in part as “characterized by conformity to recognized standards of propriety or morality. Meeting accepted standards.” “Unprincipled” is defined in part as “lacking principles or moral scruples; unscrupulous: unprincipled behavior.” (The Free Dictionary Online by Farlex)
I am reminded of a movie I saw many years ago, titled “HUD” (1966). Paul Newman had the leading role, playing a selfish, cocky, unscrupulous, crude, amoral, hedonistic, irresponsible and hard drinking rat. Hud’s father, Homer, played by the distinguish actor Melvyn Douglas, was a very decent man and a complete opposite of his son, Hud. In a memorable climatic scene, Homer criticized Hud’s living philosophy saying, “…You’re an unprincipled man, Hud. You don’t value nothing…You don’t respect nothing…You live just for yourself. And that makes you not fit to live with.” The character, Hud, had absolutely no redeeming qualities. Sadly, the character portrayed by Paul Newman is not just a fictitious movie personality; such people are all around us.
Decent people are appreciated and much desired in any society. They can be trusted and are law-abiding citizens governed under civilized laws. They respect and obey ethical/moral standards and understand right from wrong. They do not strap explosives on their bodies and kill innocent people at random. They do not murder, rape, plunder and cause mayhem and the like. We thank God for decent governments and civilized people of the world community.
Christians Must Be Decent and Orderly
It is interesting that we find the word “decently” only one time in the King James Version of the Bible. “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV). “This is the golden rule for organizing and conducting public worship services of the church in all ages” (Coffman Commentaries on the New Testament). The apostle Paul, because of disorder in the congregation, rebuked the church at Corinth. Members were guilty of misusing spiritual gifts, such as the gift of languages, and other problems.
Our English word “decently” in the Greek carries the idea of “piously, godly.” From a root Greek word, it is further defined as “well-reverent, devout” (Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). Concerning public worship in the church of Christ: “In 1 Cor. 14:40, ‘decently,’ where the contrast is to disorder in oral testimony in the churches” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words). It should be obvious that we cannot add those things that are not authorized in our worship unto God. We must stay within the framework of that which is “decently and in order.”
One further observation: there are many unprincipled imposters in our society and world community. Some claim or masquerade as decent but inwardly they are corrupt. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)
In conclusion, it is clear that unprincipled people cannot comprehend a pious attitude. They will not conform to standards of good manners and honesty. Principles and moral scruples are beyond their make-up. Throughout the history of our world, decent people have suffered from uncivilized, unscrupulous and devious behaviors of unprincipled people. The result of this sinful behavior has been worldwide corruption and chaos. The children of God, though, will persevere as well as be rewarded for their faithfulness.