Mark 4:3-20 The Parable of the Sower
The Parable of the Sower helps and disturbs me at the same time.
In the parable, Jesus identifies three groups of people who hear the word of God. First, there are those who hear it with enthusiasm, jump on board, then just as quickly fall away because they have no deep roots. Second, there are those who say yes to the word, but their desire and fruitfulness for God gets choked out by worries, the pursuit of wealth, or desire for other things. Finally, there are those who receive the word of God, let it take deep root in their lives, and go on to be productive at different levels; some a little, some moderately, some greatly.
On the positive, the parable helps me understand other people. Not everyone will thrive in their faith.
Some folk will be a flash-in-the-pan. They’ll start with fire, but their roots do not go deeply enough to sustain them for the long haul. Other folk will constantly struggle with the worries of the world. They simply can’t, don’t, or won’t trust what the Word of God declares. And then there are those folk who stay in the Word, and the Word abides in them, and even they will yield at different levels; some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, and others a hundred-fold.
We all respond differently to the Word, and we all have different capacities even with the Word. Perhaps it’s cold comfort, but the parable helps us not be so surprised by others. But I’m challenged by a single question: Which category best describes me?
The issue is not productivity or passion but how deeply I get into the Word and remain in the Word. The common thread throughout the parable is the role of the Word of God within us all.
Did I start with a bang, and am finishing with a whimper? Did I grow a little, but basically let my other interests crowd the Word out of my life? Or am I deeply in the Word (and the Word deeply in me) allowing God to produce what He likes through me?
The parable presumes a mystery; the mysterious power of God through His Word in the lives of His people. Where do you fit in the parable? It’s certainly not too late, nor too hard, to adjust categories. 🙂