Each Tuesday and Thursday I do a short reflection on a Bible verse from a devotional and social justice perspective. You can sign up to get a prompt via SMS here:
Text Of The Day
Today’s text is from Mark 4:3-9:
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
There are many ways to read the parables. We often read this one individualistically, and listen for the way it describes our lives: Are we too shallow to produce fruit? Too distracted? Have we had the seed snatched away by forces beyond our control?
These kinds of readings tend to make us feel critical and inadequate. I don’t that is the intent.
As a church planter, I often read this parable as a description of the nascent church movement. There are environments hostile or beneficial for growing communities of faith.
But the action of the parable doesn’t really focus on the seed or the soil. It focuses on the planter, who wildly flings seed around, letting it bounce off of sidewalks and land in bushes. The planter wants to give the whole world a chance to produce fruit, and is not stingy with the seed. We might view it as a waste. The planter does not. The ultimate result is a harvest.
I think the same thing is true of social justice movements that is true of the gospel (and from my perspective, they are very closely related). We know two things: the planter flings the seed, and there will be a harvest. The condition of our own soil and our communities—sure, that’s our business. But ultimately, God gets what God wants. The arc of history still bends toward justice, and the Body of Christ grows the kingdom stealthily, like yeast in bread, or seeds scattered across vacant lots.