Friday, October 24, 2014

Jesus on the Process of Spiritual Growth (Mark 4:26-29)

The parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20) is the parable of the parables. “Don’t you understand this parable?” Jesus asked his disciples and us today, “How, then, will you ever understand any parable?” (Mark 4:13). Thus, it is important for us to understand first or to read through again the parable of the Sower before we study the parable of the Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29) and the parable of the Mustard Seed (4:30-32). It will be must easier to understand other parables too (Click HERE to read my previous reflection).

Jesus went on the say, “The Kingdom of God is like this. A man scatters the seed in his field. He sleeps at night, is up and about during the day, and all the while the seeds are sprouting and growing. Yet he does not know how it happens. The soil itself makes the plants grow and bear fruit; first the tender stalk appears, then the head, and finally the head full of grain. When the grain is ripe, the man starts cutting it with his sickle, because harvest time has come” (Mark 4:26-29, GNB).

Whenever we read a parable like this, we must remember that: it is a parable. The truth is there but don’t try to over-spiritualize every details. For believers, the obvious is the core message. In essence this parable is about the mystery of how God’s Word grow in the hearts of men. It is about the process of spiritual growth in the Kingdom of God. I’m encourage by this parable because even if I don’t know how God’s Word grow in people’s lives, but as I “sows God’s message” (Mark 4:14), regardless of how much people “hear the message” (4:20), I know that sooner or later it will produce “the fruit.” Therefore, I’m very comfortable with this mystery.

[The sower] does not know how it happens.” The process of growth is hidden from us. Before I seriously studied this parable, I thought that there are ‘secrets’ formulas that we have to know to advance the Gospel and there are some persuasive evangelism techniques that we should mastered before we witness to people. I failed to realize the element of mystery in God’s Kingdom. This extra dimension is what missing from my personal witness and understanding of spiritual growth. I thank Jesus for this parable! Another truth I learned is that the growth is gradual. As the man in this parable sleep, “the seeds are sprouting”; as he get up, the seed are “growing.” The growth starts small, slowly but keep on growing.

The seeds sprout mysteriously, hidden, gradual and slowly but surely it will grow! The growth is sure. It will eventually be “full of grain.” I like to end this reflection with an encouragement: Share God’s Word as much as possible, as frequent as possible, as faithful as possible. Never give up, never get tired, never pull out. Speak the Word, live the Word, share the Word. You might never get to see how “the seeds” of God’s Word may grow in people’s lives but remember that it will grow hidden within their hearts, it will gradually grow day by day. And if “the soil” (4:28) is good, the growth is sure! Friend, the “harvest time [will and] has come.” Where is your “sickle”?

The Kingdom of God is like this.”
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