In the Parable of the Sower, the seed (the Word of God) is sown among the thorns…obstructing its growth. When as a Believer, we don’t see fruit in our lives, we need to be asking ourselves – “What’s distracting me from God’s plan and purpose in my life?” The world’s frenzy is enough to distract us from what really matters, so we need to prioritize everything by these categories: God first, family next, world last. Distracted faith is as bad a luke-warm faith…it’s a unfruitful faith that God can’t use.
In these verses from the Parable of the Sower we see the Word of God being sown over rocky ground. The plants spring up, but because they have no adequate root system, they die off quickly. In the Amplified Version of the Bible it gives us insight into this shallow faith. It states in Mark 4:17, ” And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.” So how can we pray for this person? They have to go deeper. In I Timothy 3:9 it talks about keeping ahold of the deep truths of the faith…the divine secrets, revealed truths, and revelations from God. To move from shallow faith to a vibrant and intimate relationship with the Lord, a person has to go deeper with God…allowing Him to speak to them through the Scriptures, revealing important truths to them. And with these new revelations, they are then able to send roots of trust down deep.
This is from the Parable of the Sower, where the farmer sows the Word…the Logos…the Word of God, onto a hard-packed path. The seed just sits on top of the surface, unable to germinate and grow because of the hardpan – the unbroken subsoil beneath. To have a hardened heart towards the Gospel is to have an indifference towards the things of God…or to have an unfeeling conscience. So how can we pray for that person? We can ask the Lord to plow up that hard soil of rebellion in their life… that the Word of God may germinate and flourish there.
When we compare the actions of Zacchaeus and the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22 we can see quite a contrast. Where Zacchaeus spontaneously offered to donate his great wealth to the needy…the rich young ruler, when challenged by Jesus to sell everything he owned and give the money to the poor, left unwilling. True repentance changes us from the inside out. It transforms our heart, causing us to alter our actions and way of thinking to that of Christ’s.
The persistent crowds followed Jesus wherever He went…pressing close and clamoring for attention. But in this Scripture we see a completely different picture of the Lord. He’s holding little ones on His lap…taking the time to hug and cuddle babies and toddlers…seemly unaware of the crowds around Him. Jesus was practicing the gift of unhurried joy. Of taking the time to show someone just how important they are with no regard to time, schedules, or deadlines. Our greatest gift to someone we love, is unhurried time with them…calm, peaceful, focused time – not glancing at our watches or phones, but rather at them. Who in your life today needs to receive the gift of your unhurried time?
Unfortunately, Jesus could say this of many of us. We like to hang out with Jesus, but when the going gets tough, we break faith. Fear, embarrassment, not wanting to offend, wishing to be politically correct will all cause us to deny Him to some degree. When someone questions our religion, or mocks our Christian walk we cave and shy away from taking a stand. Yes, we love to just hang with Jesus…but only when we’re not forced into a difficult situation and have to choose.