The breakneck pace of the Gospel of Mark slows a bit here in chapter 4. Rather than rapid-fire healing, we begin with a lengthy parable and explanation. Let's take a note from Mark 4 today, and take it a little easier.
Gospel of Mark: Day 4
The Parable of the Sower
The Purpose of Parables
Parable of the Lamp
Seed Grows of Itself
The Mustard Seed
The Calming of the Storm at Sea
Journaling Questions for Reflection
How have I received the seed of the Word of God? What did the sower find in my heart a path (Mark 4:4)? rocky ground (Mark 4:5)? thorns (Mark 4:7)? rich soil (Mark 4:8)?
The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them (Mark 4:14-15). When have I allowed Satan to steal my joy? my peace? What triggers me to lose hope?
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away (Mark 4:16-17). How do tribulation or persecution affect my faith? Who in my life gives me courage? What makes the soil rocky? How can I develop roots that will last? Who offers me a good example of a well-rooted life?
Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but wordly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit (Mark 4:18-19). What worldly anxieties take me away from the Word? from Trust? from Peace? What role does materialism play in my life? What role does technology play? What cravings distract me from the will of God? Where am I stuck in sin?
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold (Mark 4:20). Where does my life bear the most fruit? What gifts do I have to offer the world? my local community? my friends? my family? What enriches the soil of my heart? When was a time that I felt most fruitful? What was special about that time? What tilling needs to be done to regain the richness?
He said, "To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade (Mark 4:30-32)." What do I think Jesus is saying in this parable? What is Jesus asking me to do?
"Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?".... "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith? (Mark 4:38-40)" The Apostles and Jesus exchange words amid the storm at sea. How often do I have this same conversation with Jesus? Why am I terrified? How has the Lord shown me that He will not let me perish? Do I believe that the Lord will always save me? Why or why not?
Day 4 Challenge:
Sit quietly for 15 minutes asking the Lord to show you how much He loves you. That's it. No other intentions, petitions, topics of conversation... 15 minutes just sitting in the Lord's love.