On Bible passages

A lAsTiNg FoOd

“Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

Mark 4:18-19, NIV
This is one of those parables that can be forever tapped into and will faithfully yield new treasures. Today, it became very vivid in my mind. Perhaps this is due to spring that is gaining ground outside, adding colour to the story. I could picture the farmer, going out early in the morning to sow his seed. In olden times, a sower had to spread the grain with a round, even gesture of his hand, so as to distribute the grain equally on the ground. No doubt it took some practice!

As soon as the grain is in the soil, the whole world seems to come against it. Living in England, I have admired the beautiful gardens that adorn nearly every house, and the effort people put into them. They’ll all tell you that a rich soil combined with good conditions are the ingredients for growth.

In this parable, Jesus describes different environments to us. First of all, the seed lands along a path, where it’s trampled on, or quickly eaten up by the birds. Then, some falls on rocks, where the shallowness of the soil dries up the roots of the new crop. But the one place that caught my attention was where the thorns grew. I recently went back to a footpath that I discovered last year. It is a lovely walk by the side of a field. However, when I had last trodden on it, the pathway had been invaded by nettles, which made it very difficult to move forward.

Jesus explains to His disciples (and only to them!) that the thorns represent the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things. Oh, how many times a day do we get assaulted, even overwhelmed by worries! The devil seems to take a special pleasure in making us worry about anything that comes to hand… relationships, work, the future! And what about wealth!? In this time of ongoing crisis, almost everybody is subject to questions in this area.

The last item of the list gets very interesting, as it is much more subtle. It is as if Jesus was gently pointing out that we are often driven and our thoughts preoccupied by numerous “desires for other things”. This is quite a high standard that is being set!!! He then draws our attention to the one thing we should desire: The Word of God. In another place (Luke 4:4), Jesus tells us: “Man does not live on bread alone.” Bread or food, is of vital importance though! Yet, Jesus uses this image to show us how much we need The Word of God.

Let’s ask Jesus to prepare the ground of our life, sheltering us from the birds, removing the rocks and as we saw today, cleaning up the thorns that can “choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I just want to come and ask You to search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Please, help me clean the ground of my life, to receive Your Word with open ears and heart. Let it sink deep into me and do its work! Thank You, because it’s so powerful and precious! Amen.


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