Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Holy Holy Holy"1 (Lyrics)
Our garden is not nearly as big as it used to be. We used to grow all our vegetables, as well as a variety of different fruits and foodstuffs. I was never a fanatic gardener, but I did look after it, and we enjoyed the fruits of our labours. However, as time went by, the garden became smaller, so that now it is just a few square feet with some of our favourite vegetables. But the problem is still the same. The weeds seem to take over.
In my Bible discussion at the local long-term care centre, we are presently looking at some of Jesus' parables, and the last few times, we discussed the parable of the sower and the parable of the weeds in the wheat field. We had some considerable discussion about the seeds which were crowded out by the weeds.
Mark 4:18-19 – Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires of other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (NKJV)
We came to the conclusion that this is what is happening all around us today. Several people in my Bible class mentioned about how they grew up in the church and raised their children in it, but now see that some of them have quit going to church, and their grandchildren as well. Some people who at one point believed don't anymore. There appear to be different reasons. Some have done well – they can make it on their own; others have too much to do on a Sunday; there is work; and there are various sports activities. There are so many things which seem to have taken over, and they don't need to set aside the time for worship. The weeds of the world have crowded out and smothered their desire to worship, to believe, or even to have faith.
We seem to focus on the negative side of this parable so often: the seeds on the roadside, the seeds in the stony field, and the field where the weeds take over. But Jesus ends with a positive statement, a statement which tends to get crowded out by the negatives of this story as well.
Mark 4:8-9 – "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." And He said to them, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (NKJV)
It is so good to see that not all of our work is in vain: we teach (or taught) our children; we preach; we write; we talk to others about our faith. As I tell the people in my Bible class, we can't all be preaching all the time, but the people in the home see that we are there to study God's Word, and the personal reward is there for all of us to see. The seeds of faith have taken hold; they give us strength to cope on a day-to-day basis; and for some, the increase has been a hundredfold indeed.
Prayer: Father in heaven, we thank You for the parables that Jesus told the people then, and that He tells us now through the Bible. For stories that are so easy to understand, stories which we can apply to our lives even here and now, we thank You in His name. Amen.