Getting in touch with the power that drives the Universe...
I was reading the parable of the soils (Mark 4:1-20) as part of our Practicing the Way of Jesus devotional study prepared by Pastor Jerome. I have always considered the soils to be simply indicative of the types of people exposed to the Gospel. As someone who has inherited his faith, it seemed plain to me that I was an example of the “good” soil. Then, in my later years of maturing, I began to appreciate that indeed, there were times in my life (seasons, really) where I displayed the characteristics of some of the other soils. But ultimately, I always mentally claimed that I was “good” soil, or on my way there.
Then I read the commentary about this parable in my NIV Bible. It basically said that the soils metaphor might be used to describe my daily life, in that there are parts of my private and public life that might reflect the different soils. So, for instance, while I might be good soil when attending church or teaching Sunday school to teens, I might be “rocky” soil or “weedy” soil when it comes to my work life or family life. This was a “nesting” message that I was totally unprepared for!
Then later that same day, Ryan Hunt shared with me that he considered this parable from the perspective of the sower. “Perhaps,” he said, “we need to think about how we sow the seed of the Gospel. Are we sowing only to people that are receptive to the Gospel (good soil) or do we unselfishly sow among people who are distracted, unreceptive or even downright hostile to it? Is it our right to decide which soil gets the Gospel; or do we sow unselfishly and in the confidence that it is God who germinates the growth of His Spirit in people.”
All this leads me to realize that Jesus’ parable teaching methodology is masterful. It is a compact, supremely adaptable lesson that can be sequentially “unpacked” and used as it is understood at different times in our lives.
What else am I missing in the Bible? I’ve read it for more than 55 years and am just now beginning to realize the subtle complexity and beauty of this living word. Thanks be to God that this has been revealed to me! I pray that I can use this understanding to help others and myself come to know, and be known by, our one true God.