Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear. Mark 4, verses 1-9.
Let’s take another look a couple more things about it that matter before we move on from this parable.
“Went out to sow his seed:” the work of the Lord is work indeed. The work of Christ is to tell others about Him, and that takes hard work. This world is a place set against Christ, and most people in the world don’t want to hear this message of salvation, love, and peace because it requires effort from them. But have you ever been involved in a big project? On a project team, though everyone has common goals, meeting those goals requires thousands of daily interactions, achievements, and individual contributions. Everyone’s contribution matters. It takes work to achieve a major objective. Christ knew this, and He knew that there could be no objective more serious than the eternity of a human soul. He knew that the message He preached would challenge many and upend the order of things, and that to spread that message would take work.
That work would be necessary because the ways of the world – the things of the world – will still be around no matter how we receive God’s word. The Pharisees and other sects of Jesus’ day were pulled away from hearing Jesus’ word. Are we any different? It isn’t just modern technology, affluence, or peer pressure competing with the Gospel for our hearts. There are untold other temptations and realities with which we must grapple just to stay alive. Strip away the trappings and veneer of the twenty-first century and you’ll find the core matters of the heart aren’t much different from those that were covered over by more primitive veneers during the first-century time of Christ. Lust, greed, anger, lying, envy, hurt: those aren’t things that are unique to those of us living today. Jesus knew that too.
Finally, Jesus knew that not everyone would listen. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” This is a message for everyone that not everyone will take to heart. Everyone has ears but does everyone truly listen? Don’t we each know people who hold fast to their faith as they are dying, while knowing other people who reject Christ with passion? I know them; I bet you do too. Jesus knew His message would require hearing with the heart instead of just hearing with our ears and not everyone would be willing to listen.
Lord, whatever happens in my life today, I am following You.
Read Mark 4, verses 1-20.