March 10 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow..." Mark 4:3 When you're reading in the Word of God, how much attention do you pay to seemingly unimportant words? It's so easy to read it through and not pay close attention, skipping over some of the words unnoticed. In this passage Jesus begins with the word "Listen!" That should alert us immediately that what he's about to say merits full attention. In this passage, Jesus is drawing attention to the fact that the most important thing for one to receive in life is the Word of God, pictured here as what is being sown. The condition of the soil, the condition of the heart, makes all the difference in the world how each person will react to, and treat the Word of God. And THAT will have everything to do with each person's eternity. Jesus continues: vs 4: "And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it." Think of a man walking near the edge of a field, by the road. He throws out a handful of seed but a lot of it falls next to the road and birds come immediately and take it. This represents people who inadvertently hear parts of the Word of God, maybe in a reading in church on Sunday morning, but their minds wander and as soon as they leave the building the Word has left their minds, and the Word of God has had no impact on them whatsoever. vs 5-6: "Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it, withered away." Some of the seed lands in the field but again it's close to the road so there are stones there and not enough soil for the seed to put down good roots. They have a positive reaction to hearing the Word, and may even say, "Amen!" It sounded good, but when something troubling comes up in the person's life the last thing he thinks of is the Word he heard because it never really took root. All his attention is focused on his trouble and there isn't enough Word in him to keep him from falling. vs 7: "And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop." These are those who also hear and approve of the Word when they hear it, but their focus is on the things of this world. They're so busy with their own pursuits and "the deceitfulness of riches," that they just don't have time to think about the Word of God. God's Word in their lives is unproductive. vs 8: "But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” These are those who have had such a revelation of the shortness of this life and the realization that most of their lives will be spent in eternity, that they conclude that there is nothing in life more important than getting to know their Creator through the Word he has provided us. These are they who understand the wisdom in spending themselves in the pursuit of what will last forever. They will be forever studying that Book to learn more and more about their Creator, who he is, why he put us here, where we're going, and how we are to get there. The most important result of that will be a tremendous desire to "produce fruit for eternity," and that's what will consume their thoughts and attention as they walk through their pilgrimage on this earth. Then, just as Jesus began the parable with an attention-getter when he said, "Listen!" - now he ends it by saying that if anyone can "hear" his message, let him receive it! vs 9: "And he said to them, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear!'” Therefore, let anyone who can receive this, receive it therefore, and act on it! And then live it!