Frank Retief was pastor at St James Church Cape Town for 31 years, having planted the church in 1968 with his wife Beulah. He became the Presiding Bishop of the Church of England in South Africa until he retired in 2010. Frank remains active in ministry through preaching, teaching, pastoral work & writing, and has authored a number of books.
Mark 4 vs 20 “Others like seed some on good soil, hear the word, accept it and produce a crop – thirty, sixty or even hundred times what was sown.”
In some communities across the world, the preaching of the Word of God is met with a warm welcome and a good response. In other communities the message of the bible is either not welcomed or it is ignored. Why these different responses? Well, one of the things that the New Testament constantly sets before us is the different responses to Jesus and His Word.
In this parable about the sower, we have before us in parable form, four different responses to the Good News. Some people hear it with hard hearts and the devil soon snatched even the memory of what they heard from them. Others receive the word with an initial enthusiasm but the word has not penetrated or taken root. All is superficial. So when difficulties arise because of the Gospel they quickly fall away and abandon the truth.
There is another response to the Gospel with which we are all aware. That is an initial acceptance of the message, but their life is distracted with all the busyness of family, children, and making money – so that the truth is eventually choked out of their life. We all know someone like that. But is all lost then? Does the Gospel appeal to nobody? On the contrary Jesus told us that there is some good soil that produces up to a hundred times what was sown. There is always somebody who hears and believes. Sometimes they are the most unexpected people, but to them is given the gift of understanding and they produce the harvest.
Perhaps you can remember your own experience. How long it seemed to take before you began to see the light. And then even if you did not see the whole Gospel picture, what you did understand excited you and began to dominate your life. And look at you now. Even though you may be a nobody in the eyes of the world, how many people have heard the Gospel from you or experienced some of Christ’s love through you and have been blessed? You are the one producing the harvest.
Prayer: “O God, thank you for opening my eyes. Please grant me more light and understanding and help me to produce more fruit to bring you glory. Amen”