Scripture: “And (Jesus) said to (the disciples), “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?
The sower sows the word:
- And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
- And these are the ones sown on rocky ground—the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.
- And they have no root in themselves but endure for a while.
- Then when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
- And others are the ones sown among thorns—they are those who hear the word, but:
- The cares of the world and
- The deceitfulness of riches and
- The desire for other things
enter in and choke the word and it proves unfruitful.
- But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit—thirtyfold and sixtyfold and hundredfold.” (Mk 4:13-20)
Observation: Parables are not just interesting stories; they are object lessons meant to induce thinking.
Analysis: Jesus loves to tell stories. It is too bad I don’t follow the story through to the punch line often enough. I guess that is why the Scriptures need to be read over and over so that the Spirit can deliver what needs to be known.
I remember a time when I first read this parable. This is what I thought: “Those thick-heads: of course, there are 4 categories’, anybody can see that. I am pridefully glad I am of the 4th and most admirable category.”
Well, I didn’t say “pridefully”, but that is what it was—looking backward from my 50-year perch. I probably did think “thick-heads”; maybe something worse. Monday morning quarterbacking isn’t just for football.
What this isn’t ONLY about is objective observation of other people: it can be vitally important in looking at myself—because I can slip in and out of any of the above characteristics daily. The question becomes, “How can I stay in the #4 slot? Good soil, really hearing the Word, bearing fruit to a 30x, 60x, 100x rate of return?”
Paul told the Corinth church: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” (2 Cor 13:5) Think this verse is just for a bunch of folks who are on the wrong path? I must think “no”, this is a verse for those who are exhorted to reconsider every day, every way, and whether or not “walking worthy of the Gospel” is what drives them.
Examining myself isn’t an exercise in “doubt management”; it is an active and purposeful exercise of reflection in and of my conduct and whether my conduct is pleasing to Him who calls.
Back to the parable: I would be tickled pink if I could only get to 2x, much less 30x and beyond. Here is what I am confident of: that God, who called me in his Light, will not stop His work in me until I either see “That Day” or He conforms me into the image of His Son. (Ro 8:29)
Prayer: Lord Jesus: Keep me from sinking in the morass of the cares of this world any more than I have. Let me see the difference between reality and objective; temporal and eternal as it applies to me—where I am that I can see, feel, and experience and where I am in the eternal sight and position of the Kingdom.
You know this is weird shifting gears like this, right, God? But I must; all of mankind must! The Old Dead Guys, saints and fathers of the Faith from ages past seems to do this effortlessly. Please let this facet of the Gospel grow in me…AMEN
“Saturday Morning Coffee at IHOPs”