Mark 4:1-9 (Today's New International Version)
1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times." 9 Then Jesus said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear."
One of my favorite wishes is to wish that I could have been there to see and hear Jesus. To be there to see the super-natural miracles that He performed. To sit and listen to His simple teachings and parables. Or to crowd around Him just to touch Him as He passed. Many people realized that Jesus was like none other. So many people in fact that Jesus spent a few occasions in a boat, a few feet from shore speaking to the people as they crowded around the shore.
Most of us have heard this story many times in our live. Jesus further explains what the different soil represents. Jesus leaves us to wonder and reflect on what type of soil we represent. But what I’d like to consider is the Farmer’s actions. In short, we have a Farmer who indiscriminately broad-casts his seed all over the place. Consider if you will for a moment, what kind of work that is, and even if we’d be willing to do this in today’s times. Uhhhh…..no….. We’ve got specialized equipment connected to tractors and a single person can do the work in 1/100th of the time it took this broad-cast farmer to do it in. So you can definitely say, that this farmer was definitely working hard. Sweating pretty good in fact. You might could say too that this Farmer was experiencing a little bit of Sacrifice and pain for future gain, or grain that is. Let’s look at it again in today’s methods. Let’s figure the fuel cost of that there big old tractor, the maintenance and up-keep. Or if you’re like me, and want to skip the annual maintenance and up-keep, then you’d better figure in the higher cost of repairs from the equipment simply breaking down. Then you have to count the cost of the Seed. You want good seed or not so good seed. Well, that’s a silly question now isn’t it? Good seed is expensive seed. Fertilizer anyone? You can see that our cost is going higher and higher. Think back to what Sacrifice meant in the Old Testament. The one offering the animal had to have first purchased it or have reared it – the sacrifice cost him something. Remember David refusing to accept the land to build an altar as a gift, saying, " I will not sacrifice to my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." (2 Samuel 24 vs18-24)
Now, all of this is NOT in Jesus’ story maybe for a reason. Jesus warned us in other places that following Him was costly. (Luke 9:56-65) The hidden nugget for me was that Jesus asks for Sowers to sow – Not for Sowers to count the cost.
Do your part in proclaiming the kingdom of God – EVERYWHERE. Don’t analyze the place, and pre-judge it not worthy. Don't stop and think about it too long and hard and determine that it's just too expensive. Put the seed out there and leave the rest up to God. It is my believe that we can never determine if someone is supposedly Good Ground, or Bad Ground. Our responsibility is to sow the seed.
My prayer is that we accept Jesus’ challenge to count the cost. That we accept Jesus’ challenge to sacrifice our selves, and the things that he gives us to focus on the task at hand. To proclaim the kingdom of God. To sow the seed everywhere we are, and leave the rest up to God.
Are you listening to what God is saying in His Word?