Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Are You Coming To Jesus Tonight"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 4:3-7 – Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. (NIV)
As a child, I often got into trouble for doing the wrong things, despite having been warned by my parents. I can still hear them saying to me, "This would never have happened if you had listened in the first place." As a teenager, I promised to follow their instructions, but I still ended up making foolish choices, which put me in reckless situations that I was lucky to survive. Then, as a young man, instead of heeding the words of my family and friends, I almost destroyed my life completely through alcohol. In all of those circumstances, I just didn't listen to the advice that I was given. I wanted to make my own decisions and only ended up learning things the hard way.
In the gospel passage where Jesus tells and explains the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20), I can hear some of His frustration with His own people. He has come among them to bring the good news of their salvation through the gracious Word of God. He is attempting to tell them, by means of this parable, about the consequences of listening to and applying God's Word. Some of them get it and bear a fruitful faith, but most of them either discard His words or take them for granted and end up being fruitless. He is giving them the opportunity of a lifetime to get connected to God, but they just don't listen and remain separated from God forever.
Christ's words still challenge us across the centuries, and His parable is highly relevant in today's world. Sadly, some folks who consider themselves to be Christians are taking Jesus for granted and tossing away their opportunity of being saved. Instead of listening to His words, they make up their own beliefs and end up falling away. What little faith they have is fruitless, so whatever life they make for themselves is eternally pointless. They are choked with the cares of the world instead of cherishing the Word of God. In the end, they leave Jesus no choice but to say, "If only they had listened."
Points to ponder: Is my faith fruitful or empty? Am I hearing what Christ has to say or just listening to my own voice?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, speak to our spirits and guide us to Your godliness. Open our ears to hear Your Word. May our hearts embrace Your teaching so that we may bear a fruitful faith. Keep us from taking Your Word for granted, and remind us of our dependence on You alone to restore us to God. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.