Bumper Crop Faith – My Daily Bread!
The call to hear and respond to the Word of the Lord is taken from the words of Jesus found in Mark 4: 3-8, NIV, which reads:
“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 seeds 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, multiplying thirty, sixty or even a hundred times.”
This passage is taken from Jesus’ Parable of the Four Soils found in Mark Chapter 4. The farmer in this parable is God and the seed is His gospel message. The soils represent four different ways that people respond to God’s message and their resultant productivity for God and the things of God’s Kingdom. Jesus gives the interpretation in Mark 4: 13-20, NIV.
This is so important for us today; for the responses of those who hear the message today is the same as those who heard the message back in Jesus’ day. Each of these responses is unique; however, the first three are similar in that they produce nothing for God to reap in the harvest! Each of them heard the word, but that was as far as it went. These responders are on the edges of faith; from the time the seed is planted to harvest they exist on the fringes of God’s truths but never quite grasp His full meaning enough to hold on to Him.
Wayside Faith: Regarding the first seed that fell along the path that the birds ate up; Jesus said: “As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.” (Mark 4:15, NIV) These people hear the word, but it does not have a chance to grow. For some reason Satan is able to rob them of the meaning of Christ, although what they replace Christ with is not indicated here.
Rocky Faith: Regarding the seed that fell on rocky places that had little soil and no root that was scorched by the sun Jesus said: they “hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 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.” (Mark 4: 16-17, NIV) A seed must be able to grow roots deep into the ground for it to grow properly. Rocks would get in the way of the roots taking hold. The seed may grow for a while until it encounters the rock s underneath the surface which causes its death.
These Christians have rocket joy in the beginning, but it only last for a short time. They never develop a deep trusting relationship with God that sustains the test of time. They are too afraid to serve Christ in this life because of the perceived negative ramifications to them personally. In the end they realize Christ warning: “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12: 25-26, NIV)
Thorny Faith: Regarding the seed that fell among thorns that was choked so that it did not bear grain, Jesus said they: “hear the word, 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.” (Mark 4: 18-19, NIV) This response indicates that the thorny soil becomes entangled with the pursuits of this world, ultimately their desires for other things is what leads to worries and concerns that result in bearing no fruit for the Lord.
They take their eyes off of Jesus; being enticed by this world they forget the admonition: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father, but from the World. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2: 15-17, NIV)
Bumper Crop Faith: And finally regarding the good soil Jesus said they “hear the word, accept it and produce a crop – thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:20, NIV) These Christians hear and obey. They work in the kingdom of God, submitting to His will for their lives and are highly productive in His Kingdom. They know the key to success in this life is found in Paul’s words in Hebrews 3:1, NIV: “therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”
It is important to note that in each of these cases the message was heard. Today many have heard God’s message and have responded in one of the ways indicated above. However, this post is about personal reflection for each of us. Have you heard God’s call? My heartfelt prayer is that we are not like one of the first three responders whose seed God has sown but still exist on the edge of faith, not willing to submit to God all the way.
Saint’s this is the most important choice of our lives! Make a choice for God! Ask God to give you a responsive heart, one that can experience the fullness of the King and His Kingdom in this life; one that allows you to produce a ‘hundredfold’! Paul warns us that each day we draw closer to God’s fulfillment of His promises when he says: “The end is near. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed”. (Roman 13:11, NIV) “For He says ‘In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NIV)
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