March 2019 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable – Parable of the Sower Matthew 13
These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the Come, Follow Me lessons into their own study. They can also be used for Young Women’s, Relief Society or Sunday School.
Download March 2019 Come Follow Me and Ministering Printable
I decided to put the printable with a pair of gardening gloves to help protect our hands from all that weeding!
March 2019 Come Follow Me Ministering Message
Parable of the Sower – Matthew 13
The soil where I live is a terrible, hard, nonabsorbent clay. It makes pulling weeds up out of the ground almost impossible. The hard earth clings to the roots like rigor mortis. I often grab large weeds with both hands and pull, only to come up with the leaves. The roots remain safely in the ground just waiting to spring up again. I have bought several weeders that are supposed to bring up the roots. But I still have to dig and claw at the hard earth. I have learned that the best time to weed is when the weeds are still small or after a heavy rain.
When the weeds are still very young, the roots haven’t had a chance to really grab hold. It is easy to slip them up and out of the soil. And when it rains, the water softens the soil and the roots come up easily with a gentle tug. This year, we are getting a ton of rain and I have been busy trying to pull them all out while the ground is still soft.
Parable of the Sower
So when I recently read Christ’s parable of the sower, it isn’t surprising I had weeds on my mind. In the parable, Christ compares a sower throwing seeds on different types of ground to how prepared our hearts are to accept and nourish the seed of the gospel. Some of the seeds fell on the wayside, some in stony places, some amongst the thorns, and others on good ground.
The thorn-ridden ground stood out to me most. It reminds me of those prickly dandelion weeds that sting my hands when I try to pull them up. In Matthew 13:7 it says, “And some [seeds] fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them.”
Christ later compares the thorny ground to the following in Matthew 13:22, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”
What are Spiritual Weeds?
I like to think that I am “good ground,” but honestly I struggle with weeds. So many little distractions in my life threaten to squeeze out the important stuff. Much like the weeds in my yard steal water and nutrients from the soil, choking out the good plants.
Spiritual weeds can be things like fear, pride, materialism, flattery, entitlement, and trivial distractions. My biggest weeds are perfectionism and my to-do list. But really, anything that takes our time and energy from following the Savior is a spiritual weed.
Like my yard, I can weed the hard way and try to do it all by myself. But I am going to wear myself out and likely leave a lot of roots behind. Instead, it is better to weed when the weeds are small and the ground is softened.
Spotting Young Weeds
If we can catch our spiritual weeds early, we can tear them out before they have a chance to take root. Once bad choices become bad habits, we have a much harder battle to fight.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said, “We have the seed of the gospel word. It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful. We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Colossians 2:6–7). We achieve this conversion by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us.” (The Parable of the Sower, April 2015)
I think it is interesting that Elder Oaks mentions all the small, daily things we can do. It reminds me of how my dad weeds. He is obsessed with weeds. My dad even weeds other people’s yards. He weeds his neighbor’s yards so that the seeds don’t drift over to his yard. And he is constantly weeding his own yard. His constant vigilance makes it easier to keep on top of it. But I am a lazy weeder. I weed sporadically and am always surprised at how fast those little suckers get big. And then my weeds go to seed, making more weeds. My weeds wouldn’t be so overwhelming if I made it more a part of my daily life.
Softening Our Hearts
So when our weeds do get big, then more than ever, we need to soften our soil. As I watch the rain from heaven soften the earth, I can’t help but think of Christ’s living water softening my own heart. We can try digging at those weeds by ourselves, but the real, lasting changes happen when we turn to the Lord to soften our hearts.
Like Nephi said, “having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Nephi 2:16)
Nephi wanted to accept the seeds of the gospel, and he asked for God’s help in softening his heart. As the weeds of this world seek to choke out all that is important, we can also ask for the Lord’s help in softening our hearts just like Nephi.
Blessings of Good Ground
I know in my own life that the better my ground is, the easier things are and the more I can accomplish. And that is part of the promise. In the parable, Christ says, “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13:23) The Lord promises us that we will have a mighty harvest when our ground is prepared.
I also love the account of the same parable in Luke. It says of the good ground, “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15) I love the word patience. The process takes time, just like harvesting anything does.
Preparing for Setbacks
My kids want to plant a vegetable garden this year, and we just finished building the raised bed together. I have also prepped them for what is ahead. We haven’t had a lot of luck growing anything but weeds in our yard. And I am worried that their seeds might not grow. So I told them, “With any project, there will always be at least one major setback, if not more. That is normal and part of tackling a project. So don’t be surprised when it happens. Our job is to figure out our way around those setbacks.”
Remembering this in a spiritual context helps me. There will be setbacks, but I am a work in progress. As long as I am working in my garden, I am learning and growing. And unlike my vegetable garden, which might not produce anything, the Lord has promised me incredible results when I work on my spiritual garden.
President Hinckley, once said, “Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.” And he should know, he was an incredible gardener.