June 19, 2015 (Mark 4:26-34) [Continued]

Jesus presents two parables in this excerpt from Mark 4:26-29 (the sown seed). In Jesus’ time, people thought that there was only so much of anything to go around, e.g. wealth, honor, etc. We would call it “zero sum gain;” you can’t make the pie bigger so more would be available. Anyone who suddenly realized an increase in wealth, for example, would have been considered a thief. He would have taken someone’s wealth away. One persons gain was another persons loss. (That’s why “rich people” are often presented in a negative light; they got richer by taking it away from some else.) There were exceptions to this rule, like crops, livestock, children. If someone realized a sudden increase, he should share it with others. To not do this was considered greed. (Remember the parable in Luke about the guy who tore his barns down to build bigger ones and died suddenly?)

So, what about the parable. Notice the farmer does nothing to increase the yield, yet the crop grows. Maybe, God is saying if you depend solely on your own efforts, the Kingdom won’t grow. You need to rely on God. Yes, you work but realize that God is necessary to be with us in our efforts. We see this through the psalms. For example, Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build.” And, again: “It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, to eat bread earned by hard toil-all this God gives to His beloved when they sleep.” Does this mean that we don’t need to do anything? Of course not. But, we must realize God is present in what we do and we are not alone in our endeavors; God is there. We need to trust in Him.

That’s one interpretation of the parable. What do you think? (To be continued: a mustard seed plant!)

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One thought on “June 19, 2015 (Mark 4:26-34) [Continued]

  1. My first endeavor regarding this scripture passage was to try and imagine what living in a kingdom was like in the days in which this scripture was written. It’s hard for us who live in a democracy to comprehend living in total subjugation to a king. He is called the sovereign because his will is sovereign to yours. He can determine if you live or die, how you may live, in a word every facet of one’s life can be controlled by the king’s good pleasure.
    In our efforts to embrace the Kingdom of God, we endeavor to live our lives (every facet of them) at the pleasure of our Divine King. In our endeavoring to live in this Kingdom there is a part that only God can do, and a part that only we can do. It seems to me that in these two parables, Jesus is telling us that life in the Kingdom is a growth process. He has established the process. (Some of that process goes on without our awareness; “Glory be to Him whose power working within us can do infinitely more than we can hope or imagine.” Eph 3: 20) Our part is to continually put forth the effort to live as a faithful subject of the King. (God could have made us perfect if He wanted to, but God wants our efforts not our success.”- The Little Flower.)

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