URC Daily Devotion 19th January 2021

Tuesday 19th January 2021

St Mark 4: 1- 20

Again he began to teach beside the lake. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the lake on the land.  He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:  ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil.  And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away.  Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.  Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’  And he said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables.  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; in order that

“they may indeed look, but not perceive,
    and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.”’

And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?  The sower sows the word.  These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy.  But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.  And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word,  but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing.  And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’

We know what this parable means, because Jesus explains the meaning.  The key, for me, is understanding what God expects from us; to keep alert and ever watchful for all God is doing among us. Jesus is the word and example, to reveal God’s love lavished on humanity.  We engage in God’s transformation to reveal the marvellous works of salvation for everyone. No type of ground is a barrier to the work of God’s love.
Jesus encourages us; our faith is honed through obedience to God. The seed that God sows has 100% potential, it is only in our limited faith, that the potential diminishes, as we struggle to grasp the importance of God’s mission. Listen to the disappointing tone that Jesus speaks, in verse twelve, almost in exasperation! “When will you listen and understand how God works? I have told you how to grow and bear fruit, by taking God at God’s word.  Believe it!  Play your part!”  God’s love must create the energy of faith, released to reach full potential.  Our life in God needs us to create rich environments in obedience to God’s request to be love, so that our potential is at the maximum. 
Jesus reminds us to pay attention, even to small seeds, caring about what happens to them, nurturing them, because they hold the potential of God for the world. Listen, be aware of God, and the desire of people for life to have more meaning, in God’s love.  That is what Jesus wants us to understand and to work with. Nothing or no-one is too small for God’s love to permeate. God chooses you, because you have love to share.  Have renewed faith that you, too, are important to God’s kingdom! Our faith needs nurturing; this releases the kingdom of God’s abundant love.
Loving God, fill us with the love seeds of your kingdom.
Encourage us to spread them liberally
and give us the faith we need to nurture them,
so that people find Jesus
Help them to find hope and forgiveness in you.
And be blessed through your words and love. Amen


Today’s writer

Val Morrison, The URC in Doncaster


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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