Is someone trying to snatch your life?  Is there something that you have been working for that someone else is trying to take from you?  Is it a work colleague, a neighbour, a family member or even HMRC?  The Gospel reading for this week is the familiar story of the sower.  This is one of Jesus’ most famous parables and has been called the parable of parables.  The seed is the word of God which brings life and sustains growth.  However, we read that sometimes this life-giving seed falls on the hard path and the devil comes and snatches the seed away.  I have been given six brand new Bibles which are sitting on my desk at work.  Perhaps naively, I asked two colleagues if they would like a new hard-back Bible, for free, to take home.  Both refused.  I later reflected on this and the fact that if I offered them a new free book on gardening, cooking, philosophy or even capitalism they would probably gratefully accept, so why not a Bible?  Had this desire been ‘snatched away’ from them.

The Old Testament reading for this week is the story of Jacob and Esau.  Jacob snatched Esau’s birthright.  Jacob manipulated Esau and later deceived his father Isaac with a lie.  The words snatch, manipulation, deceit and lies are associated with the devil.  What should be our response to ensure that our lives are not snatched from us by the devil?  I will suggest two.  Firstly, cling to every guiding principle in the word of God.  The psalmist writes: “Happy are people of integrity, who FOLLOW THE LAW OF THE LORD.  Secondly, drench your lives in the Holy Spirit.  The Apostle Paul writes: “For the POWER OF THE LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death.”  In this way, our lives will not be snatched from us by the devil and we will abide in eternity with the God who Himself rose from the dead by the power of this same Spirit.

Old Testament reading for this week: Genesis 25:19-34

Gospel reading for this week: Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23

Epistle reading for this week: Romans 8:1-11

Psalm for this week: Psalm 119:105-112