This chapter has given me some food for thought, and so it should you too. Read Mark chapter 4, and then take a look at my thoughts below. I wrote this post a few days ago, and even since then, I have come under attack in order to try and break the blessing of this post. It is obviously quite a serious lesson.
This chapter is full of parables of farming, of which I know very little, but there are some lessons here. Firstly, take a look at all of the types of ‘seed locations’, all of the types of people who receive the gospel. Which one are you? Does your answer concern you? Are you one who hears the gospel, but is quickly robbed by satan? I’ve known people like this, very sad, please don’t let this happen to you. Are you someone who doesn’t have strong roots? I know what it is like to not belong to a body of believers, but I also know how important it is. We don’t always agree 100% with others, and yes, people do hurt us. I have been asked to leave churches in account of my ‘extreme theology’ and I have voluntarily left others, but I always find another. I always try and surround myself with like-minded Christians who can help me stand firm. That and spend time in the word, listening to worship music, meditating on scripture. That is all helping me to grow roots. Don’t be the one who has no roots and dies. Then there is the scary category. Those that hear the gospel, but then the worries of life crowd it out. This is always a concern, and even more so now. We are all under stress and worries, money can be a worry, amongst other things. It is extremely hard, but we need to put Jesus first, we need to keep our eyes on Him. I for one want to be in the final category. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
There is another parable about farming, and this time the farmer. The one scattering the seed. This one surprised me, because we so often put so much pressure on ourselves. We go out in order to bring people to Christ, but we very often make it more difficult than it is. We want to do all of the work, yet according to this parable, all we have to do is scatter the seed. You see the farmer doesn’t know how the plant grows, it grows while he is asleep, he merely plants the seed. I have seen people give their lives to Jesus, repent from their old lifestyle, and live a changed life. All from very little effort from someone else. In fact, very often when I have put in the least effort, I have seen the greatest reward. Now I am not saying that we should leave everything up to God, I am just saying that we need to do what God calls us to, not necessarily what we think we need to do. When Jesus called the little boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fish, he merely wanted the little boy to give what he had, not to feed the 5000. If we bring and give, what Jesus has given us and asks us to give, we will see results beyond what we have done. Just as the previous parable stated.
The last thing that I would like to discuss here is something that struck me, and concerns me. The reason why it concerns me is because it is aimed at experienced Christians, and is an easy trap to fall into. Take a look at verse 40. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Wow. The disciples were in a boat, in a storm, and they thought they were going to die. Some of these guys were fishermen, they knew what they were doing out on the water, but they still feared for their lives. They woke Jesus. They turned to Jesus in their time of desperate need, and Jesus asked them that question. Why do you think He did that? I believe that it was because Jesus had already told them that they were going to the other side. Jesus had spoken, but they didn’t believe what He had said, they believed what they saw. They believed their experiences, rather than the word of God. Now let me be the first to say that I am often guilty of this, so this is a lesson that I need to lean. Do you also need to learn this lesson? Do we believe in what we have experienced, in what we can see, in what others say? Or do we believe in the Word of God? It is an easy question to ask, not an easy thing to actually do. The disciples situation was a lot more dire than most of mine when I tend to doubt. Jesus is probably asking me the same question.“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Thank God there is no condemnation. I need to believe in what God’s word says, over and above what I see around me.
Are you going to join me?