Mark 4:3-9 and 4:14-20

 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
 “The sower sows the word. 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 sown in their hearts. 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. 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. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
I don’t even need to comment much on this – I love how simple to understand this parable Jesus made it (of course, the beauty is He explained it in His own words). There are a few things I want to point out though about this. The first things I have to say are concerning how we can practically apply this. And secondly, I have a little something to say to others who expound on God’s Word.
1) Jesus mentioned that those who are unchanged by the Word (the wayside) are similar to those who have no firm root. (the NASB says ‘in a similar way there are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places). A caution to those who read God’s Word: if it does not bring about lasting change, it will not produce fruit. Don’t just read the Bible and then walk away without it leaving a lasting impact. It’s not just any book. God’s Word has the power to divide between soul and spirit: ask God to make you sensitive to His work that He can do through His Word.
The other danger is threefold: the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things. How often have I been caught up in one of these and it pulls me away from growing and makes me unfruitful? Ask yourself, have you allowed these thorns in your life that are choking out God’s Word? Tear it out! Ask God to remove the thorns! Put your mind on things above, not on things of this world! This world is so temporary – Lord, help us remember that and put our mind on the things that last.
2) So one other thought: to those who find themselves in a position to explain and teach the word: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Let’s take Jesus’ example here. Do we have to complicate the cross? No. The gospel message is simple. Yes, there are deep and complex truths in God’s word, but I believe very strongly that we too often make things more difficult to understand than necessary. Enough said 🙂