Monday, November 26, 2007

Thorny Soil

Mark 4:1-9 records Jesus' parable of the sower who casts his seed indiscriminately upon various soils. Some seeds are snatched up by the birds. Some take root but wither and die because they are malnourished. Some are choked out by thorns and fail to produce fruit. Other seeds fall on good soil and produce lots of fruit.

In the next passage in Mark (4:10-20), Jesus explains this parable to his disciples. The seed is the gospel and the soils are human hearts of various condition. Some hearts are hard and the gospel does not penetrate their lives. Neither does Satan let the gospel remain on their minds long enough to have an effect. Some hearts are shallow, and the gospel seems to impact their lives, but their faith withers at the first sign of sacrifice; their faith is not deeply rooted in the truth.

And then Jesus explains the soil with the thorns. In my devotion time this morning, I was reading this passage and I was convicted by these words:

"They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful."

Don't we all risk being choked out by "the cares of the world"? What about "the deceitfulness of riches"? Are you distracted by "the desires for other things"? I think this is a clarion call for us to sacrifice the things of this world that may be good for the things of God that are better. I struggle with this every day. I want to see and do and smell and taste and touch and drive and play and experience stuff that gets in the way of my wanting to follow Christ with all my heart.

Do you have a hobby? Does it hinder you from producing fruit? Do you have a passion? Does it hinder you from producing fruit? Do you have a pet worry (or lots of pet worries!), or a pet sin, or a pet habit that interferes with your fruit production?

Hobbies are not wrong. Recreation is a blessing from God that can restore our mental and physical health. Rest and relaxation are sometimes a great benefit to the weary. But do we risk eternity for the light pleasures of this world?

Let us evaluate everything in the light of eternity.


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