Jesus often spoke in parables to help people understand the principles of God’s kingdom. He also spoke in parables to expose those who were hardened and would not listen. Mark 4:1-20, contains a passage called “The Parable of the Sower.” In this parable, Jesus teaches the people that they need to do two things: stay grounded in the kingdom and stay on guard to the things that try to topple you over.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus describes seed sown into three types of ground: rocky ground, thorns, and good soil. The sowers are those who spread the gospel. The seed is the message – the word of God. The plants are the people.
If you’ve ever planted anything, you know you can hit hard ground under the soil while digging that keeps you from going any further. You can still plant the flowers, but you can’t plant them very deep into the ground. Therefore, the sun, wind, and elements will kill them fairly quickly before they can grow beyond a sprout.
This is what often happens in life. When we are not rooted deeply in God’s word, spending time with him daily, the elements of life can stunt our growth and spiritually kill us. For example, you leave church on Sunday full of joy — Great praise, great worship, and an on-time word that leaves you thinking about it or talking about it for the rest of the day. Then, Monday morning comes and your co-worker is on your nerves by 8:30. You are cussing and fussing by 9 am and the joy and lesson you had on Sunday is gone. If you are not rooted deeply in God’s presence with regular bible study, prayer, and praise, you will be like these plants. The normal elements of life will steal your joy and get you off track.
Thorns. They hurt. However, unlike the elements of sun, rain, and wind, thorns can only hurt you if you touch them. We have no control over the sun, rain, and wind. Life happens. But thorns sit where they sit. They grow where they grow and unless we embrace them, they don’t prick us. Plants that grow amongst thorns may grow beautifully, but the thorns can grab hold of the plant and kill it.
In the Parable of the Sower Jesus explains that some people are planted among the thorns — the worries of life. Wealth, fame, self-importance, material things, these are all thorns that can choke the word of God out of us. When our friend’s new house makes us envious and we go into massive debt to keep up — thorns. When we decide to work for a crooked company in order to make more money — thorns. When we compromise our faith, integrity or values for social or material gain — thorns. We may desire to know God and live for him, but if we desire the “things” of society more, we are like the flowers planted amongst thorns. Though we may grow more than those who are planted on the rocky ground, we are unfruitful chasing the things of the world instead of what God wants for us.
If you want to have beautiful crops and flowers, plant them in good, rich, fertile soil. The only way to kill them is at the root and the root is buried so deep in that good soil that it is impossible to get to it. Ever tried to just chop weeds or pull them? They spring right back up because the roots are deep in the soil and continue to grow. You have to kill them at the root. Otherwise, they just keep right on growing.
That’s you, right? You are planted in good soil. You read God’s word daily. You pray and spend time with God every day. You even talk to God to acknowledge his presence throughout the day. This is how you live, rooted in God’s presence. When your boss gets on your nerves and your coworker throws you under the bus, you just smile and say, “Help me Lord.” When your children make decisions that seem contrary to how you raised them, you just thank God that He will correct their paths. This is what being rooted looks like. On Wednesday, you are still charged by the good word you heard on Sunday. You feel the same way about God Sunday to Sunday. When you drink, you drink to God. When you eat, you eat to God. When you rest, you rest in God. You produce fruit for the kingdom of God and people see God’s light in you. Your life is no way near perfect. In fact, on some days its as far as you can get from perfect, but life doesn’t change your praise. You know God heals. God provides. God changes. God protects. No matter what life throws at you, you know God. Won’t He Do it?!!!!