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S (SCRIPTURE): MARK 4:14-20
14The 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!”
O (OBSERVATION): The parable of the farmer is not a permanent placement of where we find ourselves as followers of Jesus but a lesson in how God scatters seed, grows, and multiplies it. It also warns us of how the enemy attempts to make sure we do not grow.
A (APPLICATION): One of the fondest memories I have of my wife Becky was back in 2006. She was serving as the intern pastor at a church in MI and I was serving as an interim pastor near Detroit. It is fitting this scripture appear in the daily texts for Maundy Thursday. I say that because I had been serving this dying mission development of a church near Detroit for a few months, we were starting to develop a relationship and institute some roots for further growth, knowing I was only there until Becky and I went back for our final year of ministry. It was on a Maundy Thursday evening that we gathered in the church's house (we did not have a worship space), set up 30 chairs in the living room, spoke words of Jesus mandate and ended in silence and darkness of the Words from Psalm 22 (My God, My God why have you forsaken me). Nothing more was said, and it appeared everyone was shocked at this time worn tradition. It felt to me as though the people I was serving in that church could not receive the Word that evening. I drove my hour trek back to our house....crying most of the way, disappointed in my ability to help lead these people. Becky had finished her commitments in worship already and greeted me as I wept and fell into the house. She asked me what was the matter, what had happened. I shared my disappointment in helping to plant the seeds of God's Word in the hearts of these people. I shared how worship ended and my drive home filled with thoughts that made me feel as though I wasn't participating in what God was trying to do in this place. Becky, hugged me close and shared only one sentence that I will never forget: "Sometimes you don't get to plant the seed, sometimes you get the job of pulling rocks out of other people's gardens." And that is the point of the parable, God is the one planting and sowing, watering and reaping. We are tasked with helping to prepare the soil...whatever its condition.
P (PRAYER): Lord, help us to prepare our hearts for receiving your Word in our lives so that we might do the same for those around us.
PS- The very next day I received 3 phone calls from different members in tears because of the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives that very evening of Maundy Thursday, the words of Psalm 22 were all too real for a people struggling in their own relationships with God. As the Prophet Isaiah spoke on behalf of God: M