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Thursday, February 11, 2016

What Is the meaning of life?

In review of Mark 4:1-20 it says,

4 Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. 2 He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

10 Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant.

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, 12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

‘When they see what I do,
   they will learn nothing.
When they hear what I say,
   they will not understand.
Otherwise, they will turn to me
   and be forgiven.’”

13 Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? 14 The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. 15 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. 16 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

What I’m learning is that Jesus told parables for two reasons: (1) to help me understand the heart of God; and (2) to help me understand how things work in the kingdom of God.

In this parable, he is describing the true meaning of our life: to cultivate a heart that is receptive to hearing and accepting the redemptive message of Jesus’ death and resurrection, then to live a life that produces a huge harvest that can “feed” a multitude.

In this parable he uses the story of a farmer who scatters seed to one who shares the word.  Where the seed/word falls has a big impact on the harvest.

Some never takes (footpath)
Some starts to grow but quickly dies (rocky soil), it doesn't have deep roots
Some among thorns gets chocked out by the thorns/distractions of this life
Still some hits firtle ground and grows and reproduces.

After being asked by his disciples about the meaning, Jesus tells them, "If you can't understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the others parables." He then goes on to explain the coorelation between planting seed and taking God's word to others. Jesus used parable for everything he said to outsiders. Those who God permit's will understand the secret of the Kingdom of God.

This parable reminds me of two things; one is my own struggle with thorns/distractions that can keep me from producing good fruit and secondly that as I share who God is and what Jesus did to others, that it will have different impacts depending on where peoples hearts are.  As a discple maker, I need to help new Christians from have a rocky type soil, one without deep roots and to keep the thorns/distractions of life from keeping us from producing good fruit.

This morning I thank you God for allowing me to be one of the ones whom you have allowed to understand Jesus' parable.

My life is intended to be a source of life-giving “nutrition” for everyone around me, and the only way I can produce that kind of fruit is to provide “good soil” for the “seeds” God wants to plant in me. The meaning of our life, according to Jesus, is to do whatever it takes to continually offer him “fertile soil”, to give myself to understanding him and his kingdom, to continuously deepen my soul by pursuing the truth about ourselves and about God, and to set aside my worries and my material ambitions so that I trust God above all.