Mark – The Facts.
Randy and live in a housing addition that has been built in the woods. Our back yard is mostly tall trees with little creatures that wreak havoc on our gardens that we try to plant. We began to study what plants would deter rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels along with the various kinds of birds. There are a few, but not many! We tried a vegetable gardens over the years. All we are doing is feeding the wildlife…not us. So we gave up this year on growing veggies. We only plant buckets of colorful flowers and watch over them and protect their growth the best we can. Planting in good soil and protecting the seeds while they grow…Mm…there’s a story there.
Jesus is a Master Teacher! He connected the people with what they knew to what they needed to know through life stories they were living. His disciples asked, “Why all the stories?” Jesus replied, “…to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight.” “Do you see how this story works? All my stories work this way.”
Mark 4, The Message
The Story of the Scattered Seed
4 1-2 He went back to teaching by the sea. A crowd built up to such a great size that he had to get into an offshore boat, using the boat as a pulpit as the people pushed to the water’s edge. He taught by using stories, many stories.
3-8 “Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.
9 “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”
10-12 When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories. He told them, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. These are people—
Whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Whose ears are open but don’t understand a word,
Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven.”
13 He continued, “Do you see how this story works? All my stories work this way.
14-15 “The farmer plants the Word. Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them.
16-17 “And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
18-19 “The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.
20 “But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.”
What do we learn?
–Jesus tells stories to relate to those who need to know how God’s Kingdom works so they can come back to God and relate to Him.
–All Jesus’ stories are explained. He does not assume they “get it”, He helps people “get it”. A good lesson for us.
–His stories relate to His audience. He knows where they are in life and where they need to go. We need to know our audience and tell stories that relate to them.
–His stories are not meant to get a laugh, although it happened at times, but the goal was to teach a lesson.
Back to the Randy and Susan planting adventures…
This spring, Randy and I decided to plant tomatoes and peppers in a protected area, in barrels we could watch over with care. They are thriving in the good soil with all they need to grow healthy, strong and produce the expected fruit. Mm…Do we protect young believers as they grow?
Dear Heavenly Father,
There is so much to learn from your stories yet today. Thank you for Your Word that provokes thought, challenges our way of thinking and behaving and transforms us to more and more like you and less like our human selves. Continue to speak to our hearts and till the soil of our hearts, minds and souls. Our very lives depend on it…on You.
In Jesus Name, Amen