The reality of a life following Jesus is that we vacillate between receiving God in our lives and going our own ways, choked by the weeds of life, which interferes with our fruitfulness. What would it mean for you to weed your garden?
3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
Mark 4:3-8, 13-20
Jesus told this parable. Notice that he said in vs 13 that if we don’t understand this parable, we won’t be able to understand any… tough talk. If we don’t understand this story about the sowing of the Word of God in our lives, we won’t be able to understand the other parables and teachings of Jesus.
Understanding the Word of God depends on our acceptance of the Word of God so that it will take root in our lives…
In a nutshell, the first two examples of the parable are people who are hard-hearted toward God’s voice in their lives or those who seem to listen, yet really take no heed of God’s voice and so it doesn’t stick. God’s Word is in one ear and out the other with these folks.
I find the Christian experience is reflected in the third and fourth examples. Ideally, we receive the Word of God willingly, we allow God to adjust our lives accordingly, and we produce fruit abundantly. That’s the fourth example, and for moments in time or seasons of life, we might say, “We’ve been there.”
Then we wake up.
Because the reality of a life following Jesus is that we vacillate. We waver. We have up times and down times because we are human. We are sinners. We ought not ever look down our noses at others for their lives or conduct because we should realize that if we haven’t been there we are likely going to be there. Because none of us is perfect. We all get choked once in a while.
What does it mean to be choked in following Jesus? Well, we see the answer in vs. 19. The Word of God is sown into our lives among weeds and thorns. These invasive species are insidious, like some weed which desires to take over your beautiful lawn.
Weeds tend to grow roots really fast and spread widely. Hmmm… sounds like what happens with the weeds in our lives which keep God’s Word from taking root in us. They choke it out.
What are your weeds? Jesus names the worries of life, deceitfulness of wealth, and desires for other things. So let’s start there. Think that through. Ask God which weed area is your downfall. In the quiet, let the Holy Spirit whisper in your ear. If you don’t know, he’ll tell you.
I suspect you already know the answer.
Think about your weeds. Think about how choked you are. Think about a time when you were abundantly fruitful. No think again about how choked you are now. What would it mean for you to weed the garden?
Tune in tomorrow as we consider the weed of worry…