Mark 4:1-9 – The Parable of the Sower
Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea 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!”
I’ve been waiting for this parable for a few months now! I was in the midst of my Psalms work and I saw this while taking a walk in a park back in the Spring. I was just enjoying a beautiful night when I saw this single “whirly-gig” as my family calls them sitting alone on the pavement. No seed was going to be planted at least unless this moved off the unfriendly soil. (side note – I did pick it up after the picture and left it in the grass).
I heard a sermon on this parable one time that talked about how inefficient God is. The parable talks about seeds being scattered all over the place and not just “targeted” – it was cast everywhere – good soil, places where birds could come and eat, shallow ground, rocky ground, amongst thorns, and so forth. There were a lot of seeds sown that did not grow roots. Yet they were sown.
There is such a push in our lives for “efficiency” – I know I fall into this – I take a weird sense of pride at times in how much I can get done in a short period of time (ask my kids about how I shop at the grocery store) and this affects a lot of other areas. Yet, we are called to sometimes (maybe most of the time) to SLOW DOWN. I love this quote that I read from Pope Francis…
We are impatient, anxious to see the whole picture, but God lets us see things slowly, quietly. The Church [has] to learn how to wait.
This was referenced in a wonderful book called, Slow Church, that I read recently. Ministry isn’t always the most efficient thing in the world – a lot of seeds are sown and only a few take root and grow and bloom. But like Pope Francis shares…we are called to be willing and able to slow down and wait for root to take and growth to emerge.