Friday, October 28, 2011
Mark 4:1-20 (ESV) Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.  And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:  "Listen! A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.  Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil.  And when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.  Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.  And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."  And he said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.  And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables,  so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven."  And he said to them, "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 desires 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 a hundredfold." It’s a long bit, but I was hard pressed to find a way to break it up. In any case, I don’t know how one reads this passage and doesn’t believe that faith is something that can be lost. The word is sown. It takes root. It comes to life. But for one reason or another it is lost. That is the meaning of this parable. Watch so you don’t lose faith. Or perhaps it is meant to be a comfort to pastors who all to often see satan snatch the seed. All too often see their confirmands fall away from church due to peer pressure or what not. All too often see the daily grind choke out the faith of a once promising crop. Who knew getting on the Highschool football team could be so much more important that eternal life in heaven. Who knew? But then, every once in a while the seed lands where it should takes root, grows and bears fruit.