If you know me well, you know that from time to time, I like to ponder the theologies of arminianism, calvinism, open theism, and the like. I know many people do this. It can really cause one’s mind to spin. I’ve learned I must limit myself in studying these theologies and always try to keep my motives in check. It’s so easy to want to be right, to want all of the answers, to want all of these things that are about me, rather than about growing in intimacy with God. So… I generally avoid these topics, because I actually have no answers (imagine that). And enough other people have plenty to say on the topics. But if there is anything I can share about how I’ve discovered more of God’s heart along the way, that’s the kind of thing I’d like to discuss.
(that was a side tangent)
Anyways, lately I’ve been reading the gospel of Mark in the message version of the Bible. Yesterday when I was reading in Mark 4, there were some things that stood out to me. It’s when Jesus is telling the story of the scattered seed. Some of the seed is immediately eaten by birds, some has no roots and quickly withers, some grows and is strangled by weeds, while some “flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams (Mark 4:8).”
Jesus explains this parable in greater detail to his disciples. The seed represents the word, which is Jesus. For some, “Satan snatches away what has been planted in them (4:15).” For others who initially gladly receive the word, “there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it (4:17). ” Then there are those “who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it (4:18-19).” And finally… “But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams (4:20).”
As I read this, I found myself sweetly surprised by what Jesus says is the causes for the seeds not flourishing. He mentions nothing about God playing a part in the people having the seed snatched from them or their lack of continuing in faith.
Also, in verse 14 it says, “The farmer plants the Word,” and I found myself pondering is who exactly is the “farmer?”
I think I’ve always been taught that the church, or the people of God are the sowers (farmers), called to sow seeds (the message of Christ) to the world. But this is what I found myself wondering as I read this time:
What if Jesus is referring to God as the farmer? What if God plants the seed (Word) absolutely everywhere? What if God truly chooses to have nothing to do with how the seed is received, besides providing everyone the ability to do just that, receive it? For me, that would speak of the incredible grace, love, and mercy of my Father.
Do any of you have any thoughts on this? I’m not trying to make big claims. Regardless, God used this passage to draw me to Him. But I would enjoy hearing what others think.
*verses taken from The Message version of the bible
p.s. I also happen to love some of the wordage used in this uniquely written version of the bible. To think that Jesus produces life in us that is “beyond our wildest dreams.” YES!