Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalm 72, 119:73:96; Genesis 42:18-28; I Corinthians 5:9-6:8; Mark 4:1-20
Today’s Writer: Bob Fehr
Mark’s passage is a parable taught by the greatest of teachers. The parable of the sower takes on greater emphasis in that it was one of the few that He explained. Like many of the parables, there are multiple levels of meaning.
It may be addressed to the world with the seeds (the gospel of the kingdom) scattered to the ground (the hearts of believers and nonbelievers). But it may also be a warning to believers who have a new heart. “ I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…and move you to keep my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezek.36:26-27)
What are we to do with our “new heart”? We are to deny ourselves as Christ instructed (Luke 9:23),or as Paul would elaborate “we are to put off the old self which is being corrupted by the lusts of deceit.” And Jesus describes those deceits: the heart (hardened path) hardened by the love and pursuit of sin, the heart (shallow soil) unable to take root with trial or persecution, and the heart (thorn filled) choked by riches and worldly pursuits.
What are we to do with our “new heart”? Christ invites us to “take up our cross daily and follow me.” Paul again elaborates: “ be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” We are to observe all that Christ taught us so as not to harden our hearts. We are to trust in the Lord to enable us to withstand trials and grow in depth. And we are to stay focused on God through worship, prayer, fellowship and daily devotions so as not to be choked by the deceit of the world.
And Christ promises we will bear fruit. Whether it is much fruit or a modest amount, God’s response is the same: “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Mt.25:23)
Image by –Tico– (used by permission via Creative Commons)