Growing Contentment and Generosity – Day 10, April 27

This is a 4-week topical study on growing contentment and generosity in our hearts (click on the Reading Plan tab on the website for a list of the scriptures by day).  The word “content” means not needing more, and the word “generous” means open-handed giving. As we look at what the Bible has to say about wealth and riches, it is my prayer that we would open our hands’ grip just a little bit more on the stuff of this world and grow generosity in its place. During this study, I hope you will share your stories of how God provides in our comments section on the website, as a testimony and encouragement to our readers to take these baby steps in the direction of God and just see what happens.

Read today’s scripture, journal on it using SOAP, then please share as we encourage one another in this one thing. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading, then below that is a SOAP from one of our study leaders. The Comments section on our website is an open forum for sharing, requesting prayer, and asking questions.

Mark 4:1-20 – The Parable of the Sower

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,
“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Don’t Let the World Choke Out God’s Words  | Rebecca Hoyt

Scripture

Mark 4:17-20

Observation

I really liked what my Bible said on these verses today- this section is one of few that Mark devoted strictly to the teachings of Jesus. It’s importance lies in revealing what the kingdom of God is like, how it grows, and who can actually enter the kingdom. Jesus used parables as His primary tool for teaching truths. Parables use comparison, placing a concrete situation readily known by the pupil next to a biblical truth or spiritual lesson. Some parables were easily understood and readily revealed truth, others required an explanation for understanding. Jesus did sometimes veil the truth from those who heard him, such as those who persisted in unbelief and those seeking to end His ministry or destroy his message. Parables were used so that believers would understand immediately or with an explanation, while unbelievers would not grasp the meaning. The hearing without understanding was the result, not the purpose, of the message. The fact that the parable contained an admonition to listen at the beginning verse 3 and end of verse 9 would seem to affirm that the parable’s meaning is not always readily clear.

Application

In the parable of the sower, the only harvest about which the farmer cared was the one that produced mature fruit. The sower and what was sown were the same in each planting, but the soils were different. The emphasis was on the different kinds of soil and the ways the gospel was received in each. Only true disciples yield fruit. Jesus used parables to reveal secrets not previously understood. For those who were already on the outside (out of touch with God, persistent unbelievers), the message of the kingdom would further alienate them. But for those who were open to Jesus’ message, greater maturity and discipleship would result. I want to be open to Jesus’s message, ready to hear and understand what He is telling me. If I’m distracted by the stuff of the world, I can’t listen to Jesus.

Prayer

Dear Lord, thank You for helping me understand what You are teaching me. Please help me to always be ready to hear and learn from You. Thank You so much for a great service Sunday where we got to stand up in front of church family and friends and say I want to dedicate my children to You, God.

The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.

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Posted on April 27, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. God spoke to me today through the thorns. It seems like we will always have thorns trying to keep us from producing fruit for His glory. There are the thorns of my own choosing which are the specific sins that still bind me. For instance, when my temper flares at my kids, I sure ain’t producing fruit. And then there are the thorns of the world, such as negative people in our lives and the overall selfishness of our society. I can’t really control the thorns of the world, but I can shower Your Word all over it to fertilize my heart and help me grow and produce fruit. Strengthen my root in You, Lord, that I may produce fruit for Your glory. Help me rid myself of these thorns.

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  2. The Parable of the four soils has always been described as the types of believers when presented with God’s word. But my Bible notes today pointed out that it could also apply to phases in a Christian’s life – like the hills and valleys in our faith walk.

    This new thought definitely made it more applicable to me. I’ve often felt I couldn’t determine exactly which “soil” I was because I wasn’t consistent in fruit bearing. But when applied as phases, I can definitely pinpoint the different points in my life when I’ve been in all 4 soils.

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    • Thank you for that perspective, Jess! Gotta have Sonshine to grow, right? Every day of this study I’m realizing it’s more and more awesome how God pointed me to the plant growing out of an open hand image for a visualization of this study.

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