Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1/26/11 - Becoming The Rich Soil

Mark 4:1-20
On another occasion, Jesus 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.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, 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.”
Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
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.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.

Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.

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.”
This is one of my two favorite parables.  It is so accurate and instructive, and it gives me hope.   
I've hit a point where I've resolved not to be the path, the rocky ground, or the thorns anymore.  I want to be the rich soil.  I now know that if that's going to happen, I need to do my part.  I need to be resolved, and give effort.  The parable backs that up completely: 
1.  To avoid being the path, I need to protect against Satan stealing the word from you from the start.  This only happens if I ALLOW it to happen. I can protect myself by seek God's help to put sin in my life, so my natural impulse is no longer along a sinful desire, but toward God. To do this, I can look at my own sinful behaviors, understand them for what they are, and get God's help to put them to death.   
2.  To avoid being the rocks, I need to understand and accept that that tribulation or persecution comes with the territory of being a Christian.  I need to be fully resolved that "believing in Christ" means that I stick with Him through those trials.  More than that -- I need to accept that they are for my own good, and ask for His help to weather them.  If I let the difficulties diminish my hope in the Lord, I quickly fall away.  The rocks stay.
3.  To avoid being the thorns, I need to understand that I am to set my mind and heart on God, and not on worldly things.  I live in the world and I need stuff to live where God has put me, but I need to keep it in perspective.  They are not the end goal.  I need to trust in God, believe Him when He says I don't need to be anxious.  When I do get anxious, I need to go straight to Him.  I personally know how destructive anxiety can be.  I need to that the lure of riches and craving for earthy things are just as destructive, and cause the word to be choked out.  
4.  To be the rich soil, I need to accept the word.  That means more than believing it, or feeling joyful about it.  According to this parable I need to live by it. 
All of these steps require my own participation.  God will help, but he won't do it for me.  I need to keep my eye on the target, which is doing God's will, and bearing His fruit.  


  1. Which methons do you personally use to get information for your fresh entries, which particular search resources or techniques do you often utilize?

  2. Well ... as you can see I haven't written in a while! I've often wondered if anyone looks at this blog.

    I've used a mix of things. On most of these the Scripture passage is the daily reading. I'll typically read it and reflect some, often times using Lectio Divine. I'll look to the Catechism and writings of Church Fathers on the passage also. My favorite sources among the Fathers are Chrysostom, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. Those can all be found online.

    What shows up in the blog is a mix of all those things.

    In quite a few cases there are 3 or more entries over the same passage, written months or years apart. The most interesting thing to me has been to look back and see what comes out over time on the same passage. I can see evidence of my own spiritual growth when I do that.

    Thanks for the comment!


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