- How many Sunday's have I gone to church, sat in a pew, and had the words of a sermon pass through my ears only to not be able to tell anyone five minutes later what the sermon was about, not to mention it's specifics? Verse 15: "And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was was sown in their hearts."
- And how many times have I chewed with delight upon God's word relative to His trustworthiness, His sovereignty, His goodness, His promises to never leave me nor forsake me, His promises to work ALL things together for my good, etc. only to enter a difficult stretch of life and grumble, worry, strive for control? Verses 16-17: "These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble."
- And the Lord knows better than I just how often I resemble verses 18-19: "Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."
Friday, July 23, 2010
In Mark chapter 4, Jesus explains the parable of the sower. My assumption is that we WANT to be like the good ground which receives the word, accepts it, and bears fruit. Truth be known though, at different times in life I have resembled each kind of soil.
Now, I honestly do not think this parable was given first and foremost so we'd get all introspective about what kind of soil we are. I think it is more of an encouragement to sow the word of God indiscriminately precisely because we do not know what kind of soil people are. But at the same time, I have returned repeatedly to this parable prayerfully asking God to till the soil of my heart and make it good so that I'd have ears to hear, faith to believe, and a life that bears fruit for His glory.
John Piper wrote a book years ago titled "A Hunger for God" that has helped me beyond description to recognize the enemies described in this parable in my own life (the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things in particular). He says in the preface: "Desires for other things - there's the enemy. And the only weapon that will triumph is a deeper hunger for God. The weakness of our hunger for God is not because He is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with other things."
This quote comes from his introduction: "The more deeply you walk with Christ, the hungrier you get for Christ...the more homesick you get for heaven...the more you want 'all the fullness of God'...the more you want to be done with sin...the more you want the Bridegroom to come again...the more you want the Church revived and purified with the beauty of Jesus...the more you want a great awakening to God's reality in the cities...the more you want to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ penetrate the darkness of all the unreached peoples of the world...the more you want to see false worldviews yield to the force of Truth...the more you want to see pain relieved and tears wiped away and death destroyed...the more you long for every wrong to be made right and the justice and grace of God to fill the earth like the waters cover the sea. If you don't feel strong desires fro the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great."
I heartily recommend the whole book. My God help us to feast and to fast in a fashion that enjoys and honors Him above all.