Monday, February 2, 2009

Daily - 2/1/09

Mark 4:1-20

1 On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
2 And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
3 "Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
7 Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain.
8 And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
9 He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."
10 And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables.
11 He answered them, "The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables,
12 so that 'they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.'"

13 Jesus said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables?
14 The sower sows the word.
15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them.
16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
17 But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
18 Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word,
19 but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit.
20 But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."


I relate to every element of this parable. I’ve been the path, with the Word just bouncing off me. I’ve been the rocky ground, rejoicing in God’s word, and then immediately wondering what the heck was going on when a trial hits. I’ve been the thorns, where I’ve let the anxieties of the world choke out the life I was receiving from the word.

As I was thinking about this parable this week, I realized that I relate now to the sower. God has called me to cast his seed, and I’ve become increasingly bold about it. I’ve become very passionate about the idea of doing what I can to help others along spiritually, and God has given me more and more of those chances lately.

On one hand I look back and am amazed at what God has done. On the other hand, I could do so much more if I’d just get out of my own way.

It’s become increasingly easy for me to write these messages. One big reason is that I know I’m working among the fertile ground. In the terms of this parable, I get to be a sower. I get to help people cultivate their ground, and remove the rocks and thorns so that the seed can grow and hopefully bear fruit.

But … I place far too much value on what people think of me, and I can’t stand rejection. Because of that, I’ll be afraid to cast seed to people I know well. This includes some of my own brothers and sisters, and close friends that I’ve had for years. I fear that they’ll reject me because I’ve become too much of a Jesus freak.

Fortunately I can see this for what it is – a stumbling block from Satan. But recognizing the evil is only part of the battle. I need to overcome it.