Thursday 21 November 2013

Mark 4:1-20 - Sowing seeds

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This is the famous parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20). We probably all know it quite well, but here's something to try. Whether you just read it again now or not, try repeating the story in your own words; maybe jot down the main points as you go along. Then check, what did you get right, what did you leave out?

We can see that the crowds are still pressing in to get close to Jesus. He uses a boat as a speaking platform so that he has a little room and can be heard by larger numbers.

Later, when the crowds have dispersed, Jesus tells his followers what the parable means. They are unable to work it out for themselves; they understand the story well enough (in a farming and fishing community, everyone would have understood how seeds need the right conditions to flourish), but they can't see any application beyond the literal meaning.

He tells them that the secret of the kingdom of Elohim has been given to them. In the early days, he almost always has to explain the secret. But later, they will begin to look for spiritual meaning for themselves. They are slow but they are going to get better at it.

Perhaps we are just the same. There is spiritual meaning everywhere we look - in the natural world, in the way people think and act, in the stories we tell. The question is, are we receiving that meaning? Are we tuned in? Think about the last film you watched or the last novel you read; think about what you saw last time you went for a walk. Can you find spiritual meaning in those places? If you have ears to hear and eyes to see, the meaning will be there. So look for it!

See how patient Jesus is. He is always patient. So in addition to looking for spiritual meaning in everything around us, we also need to be patient with one another and with everyone we meet. We need to grow in grace and wisdom until we attain the full stature of Christ [Tweet it!] (Ephesians 4:13). Does that sound impossible? Yes it does! But with the Almighty, all things are possible (Mark 10:27).

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