Have you ever wondered what causes a plant to become deeply rooted? In your life, how do you and the Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, cooperate together to nurture deepening spiritual roots in your own life? Who and what are you rooted into?
Jesus begins teaching the crowds with parables conveying deeper truths within a story. His methods evoke desire in those who truly want to hear and understand. Listen and notice what Jesus is saying to you.
I pray that your roots may go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. Ephesians 3:17 NLT
Mark 4:1-20 NKJV
And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. 2 Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:
3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 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.”
9 And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
The Purpose of Parables
10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that
‘Seeing they may see and not perceive,
And hearing they may hear and not understand;
Lest they should turn,
And their sins be forgiven them.’”
The Parable of the Sower Explained
13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 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. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 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. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 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. 20 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.”
For Reflection and Prayer:
What did you hear or feel as you listened to the text?
If you were to give close attention to the sower (the farmer) what do you notice about the sower's character?
How have you experienced the seed planted within you?
What has nurtured a deepening rooted-ness of that seed within you? What has not been helpful?
It can be helpful to reflect on the fruit of one's spiritual practices. What do you notice? Which practices help you become more loving of God, yourself and others? More compassionate? More peaceful? Is there a new spiritual discipline which you are feeling led to explore or practice?