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Daily Bible Readings

Growing Like a Weed, But Not a Weed

Posted by Dan Sullivan on

[18] And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, [19] but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. [20] But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
Mark 4:18–20 ESV Read More

Jesus is still explaining the parable about the sower, the seed, and the dirt, to the disciples. The first two seeds didn’t last long. The first was snatched away before it ever grew and the second withered as soon as adversity came along. The word went out and was sown, but didn’t grow at all or it sprung up quickly and then withered just as fast. 

These next two actually grew. Sometimes, when we talk about the Gospel, people love to hear about it and engage. It is life-giving to spend a random moment in a grocery store or walking down your street talking about the Bible. Asking someone at church “Where have you seen God move in your life this week?” is sowing more seeds on good soil. 

Right now is the time of year that I don’t like gardening so much. We’ve eaten so many tomatoes that I’d rather let them rot on the vine than bring in another 2 pounds and wash them off. It’s pretty dark when I get off work so the garden sits all week and everything grows without me. Throw in one busy weekend and the next thing you know, I have to mow around the tomatoes! Eventually, it doesn’t look like a vegetable garden any more. There might be tomatoes in there, but the weeds have so taken over in that fertile compost that all you can see are weeds. 

The things that draw us into unfruitfulness are subtle. The NET Bible calls them “worldly cares, the seductiveness of wealth, and the desire for other things.” It is very seldom that someone wakes up one morning and says “I’m through being fruitful for God!” Instead it happens like a Young Life leader confessed to me once: “I’ve been living like a functional atheist.” 

Jesus said that if we abide, rest, reside, live, in Him we will bear a lot of fruit. In this parable, we see the definition of the opposite of that. Worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth are easy guides when we aren’t paying close attention to Jesus. We can use worldly cares and seductive wealth to make decisions, to guide our path, and only later on discover that our harvest isn’t what we expected it to be. 

The seed that grows on good soil looks just like that weed-covered seed for a long time. It is growing and growing, but there is something different. The soil around it is clear and doesn’t let anything else grow except for that seed. If you’ve ever seen a tomato plant in a magazine, this is it. The tomatoes are huge and perfect, and it is producing 30, 60, or 100 times what was originally planted. 

Sometimes you meet someone and the fruit of their life is so awesome you are moved. That surprise or astonishment might be the Holy Spirit cheering you on. Look around and see if there is a vine stuck on your tomato plant. Is there some ivy riding the way up and choking out the blossoms of new fruit? You can only tell the difference between weeds and vegetables if you are looking at the plants closely. Worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth look a lot like wisdom and blessing, until you see what they do to your spiritual growth. 

As we abide in Christ, the true vine (John 15), we grow in all of the good ways. He is worth it and He loves to help us. Imagine what 30, 60, or 100 times growth would look like and then, with Christ, go for it!

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Tags: discipleship, grow, maturity, money, sacrifice, wealth