Thursday, March 17, 2011

the worries of this life

Mark 4:1-20
"The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away.

The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 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.

The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 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."

After my husband Al committed his life to the Lord, a dear woman from my church, Lyn, would tell me how she continued to pray for his faith fervently. I did not understand this. We prayed so hard for him to receive the Lord, I did not understand why we were not "done" with that request and could go on to pray for other things. But these verses explain that.

Even after, or maybe especially after, we commit our lives to Christ, we continue to have the danger of our fruitfulness being compromised by persecution and the worries of this life. How true I know this! Today, we are concerned about Al's brother, who is in the hospital, without insurance, concerned about his placement into a rehab facility. It consumed my day with worry. Being fruitful is the issue, because when you are concerned about yourself and your issues, you cannot be concerned with expanding the Kingdom. When we do not have the deep roots of good devotional practices, of personal study, worship, prayer, and sitting under good teaching, it is easy to fall away from the truth, even after it has been accepted.

Like babes, new believers must be nurtured and loved, fed and comforted, and after a time, be encouraged and challenged to walk on their own and to give back as they have been given. They need places to go to, but also people with more mature faith, to run after them, as the Good Shepherd, and bring them back to the fold when they stray.

Father thank You for putting people like that in my life. Please help me be that to others. And help me see the worries of this life through the lens of Your love for me and ultimate power. Let me present them to You, placed at the foot of Your cross. And let my fruitfulness be 100-fold!

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!

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