Tuesday 19 January 2016

Bible Book:

“And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables.’” (v. 11)

Mark 4:1-20 Tuesday 19 January 2016

Psalm: Psalm 15


Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Or is it?

I doubt any of us will have ever heard the parable of the sowerwithout also hearing the explanation from Jesus. It is thereforehard for us to imagine being the people who heard the parablewithout hearing it explained - those who were confused, or thosewho just did not get it.

Instead, thanks to Mark's Gospel, we all take the shortcut todiscipleship, and immediately hear what it means without wrestlingwith it. I wonder how our faith might differ if the 'answer' wasnot available to us unless we first committed to discipleship, tofollowing Jesus without knowing what it meant. Would Scripture bevalued differently if explanations were not easily available? (Iwonder if stories from around the world suggest that maybe we wouldbe thirstier for God's word.)

It seems Jesus attracted larger crowds through teaching that wasless about answers and more about challenges through stories; yetour pattern generally seems rather different.

Culturally and economically this parable is set in a verydifferent environment to what most of us know. In our age few of ushave to make decisions about where to sow expensive, limitedquantities seed knowing that it is so important to meeting theneeds of our families that it can't be wasted. So how do we relateto the image of a 'wasteful', generous, abundant God who scattersthe seed everywhere knowing full well that much of it will not bearfruit?

We live in a time of so called 'austerity' when there are calls,after recent flooding, to stop helping those in other countries inorder to assistthose close at home. I wonder how this parablechallenges us. Does God, as the sower, model austerity or somethingvery different? God does not retain the seed, God does not restrictthe seed to the 'good' soil, but scatters it everywhere in the fullknowledge that this is extravagant and 'ineffective'. The seed isnot rationed, the decision on how much to sow and where is notinfluenced by the likely outcome. Instead we have more images ofGod's abundance and generosity, and of God loving and giving tothose who will never respond.

To Ponder

  • If we learn the secret of the parable without having to workfor it, does the meaning sink in? Does it still challenge us?Why?
  • Do we choose to be more generous if we think there will be aresponse? Is our giving focused on effectiveness or on the abundantgenerosity of God? Why?
  • If God is described by Jesus as abundantly generous then isthat how people see the disciples of Jesus too? If not, whynot?
Previous Page Monday 18 January 2016
Next Page Wednesday 20 January 2016