Every day I listen to a portion of the Bible with an aim to have listened to the whole thing in a year. I started on the 2nd of July 2021. I use the YouVersion Bible App+Audio. I can listen as I walk, or I can read along with the audio recording. The app is free to download and contains a vast array of Bible study tools and plans. I am following “Bible in One Year 2021 With Nicky Gumbel”. Each day starts with a devotional that explains that sets out a theme between the passages and then goes into them in more detail. It brings the word to life for me and puts it into a modern context. I understand how to apply it to my present.
The devotional on days 49 and 50 really struck a chord within me and they are the inspiration for this post. The New Testament passage is Mark 3:31 – 5:20 which is quite a large segment (but it is over two days), a lot is covered in this portion of Marks gospel but the parts that struck me most were the parable of the scattered seed, the parable of the lamp and the parable of the mustard seed particularly when listening to them in the context of Nicky’s devotional. They reminded me of my personal journey in faith and brough back a lot of memories some filled with joy, others more painful.
I am going to do a post on each of these parables and how I feel connected to it in my own personal journey, how it resonated with me.
The Parable of the Scattered Seeds
This parable is discussed twice in chapter 4 of Mark’s Gospel. Jesus tells a story to the assembled crowd about a farmer sowing his seeds, he describes what happens to the seed depending on where it lands (Mark 4: 4-8), then when pressed later in private by his disciples he goes on to precisely explain what various parts of the story represent (Mark 4: 14-20).
4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”Mark 4: 4- 8 | New Living Translation
14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”Mark 4: 14 – 20 | New Living Translation
My Interpretation of the Parable
There are three main components here: the seed, the soil, and the farmer. The seed is the word of the Lord within us, it is the news that God loves us, exists, and wants us to thrive. The soil is the conditions we find ourselves in when we hear the word, and the farmer is the source of the word at the time of sowing. I want to take this further and describe the time when I was sewn on the path, the shallow soil and where I have been sown now.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up
I see this as when I was really young between 6 and 12. My parents are not religious or spiritual and all of my education about God came from my aunt, and a close family friend. They bought me colourful Bibles and took me to Sunday school when they could. At this point in my life there was no groundwork, there was no soil for the seed to grow in and so it was lost. It didn’t have a chance to take root.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
I was extremely lucky and attended a private school in England which had a chapel attached to the dining room. We attended chapel most mornings and on weekends. It was a beautiful building, and I was part of the choir. I felt a desire for what being a Christian would mean for my life. I thought it meant I would always feel safe. I thought if I were confirmed it would make it all work. I would be covered and never be alone again. I went to confirmation classes held by my biology teachers’ husband who was a reverend. Each week for several months I went to the headmaster’s lounge which overlooked the grounds and learnt about the word with a couple of other members of my year. This time I am the seed sown on shallow soil. I was so keen, eager, I devoted myself to my study. My parents did not understand my decision, but they didn’t oppose it either. I was confirmed when I turned 12.
When I was 14 my parents separated, and my mother’s mental health began to become a serious issue. In the face of so much anger and abuse my faith withered. I renounced God and became a staunch atheist because I was alone and helpless. Despite the efforts of close friends and dedicated caring teachers my faith died. I buried it. When I think back on that time, I am brought to the brink of tears, not solely because my family disintegrated but because instead of running to the light, I chose to slam the door on it. I know I was a child and responded to the situation as a child, but I am so grateful that God sent someone to scatter the seed of the word in my life again.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times
The third time the seed was sown by my Alpha course leaders, it landed on deeper soil. It has shot up and a year later is growing even stronger than ever, tended carefully by new and old friends, it hasn’t started to wither at all. I opened the door I had closed 17 years previously and welcomed God’s love into my life. I hope this time I have been sown in the good soil and I don’t get swallowed up by the weeds. Modern life is constantly trying to tell us what we should prioritise, and I am determined for nothing to overtake my faith. If I do this right the things I want, and my faith should complement each other. I’m trying not to worry too much about the future and to trust that God will provide what I need. I want to thank all the farmers that prepared the soil in the years before, I want to thank God for continuing to shower me in love even when I was determined to pursue my own path. I pray that in the future God will reap the crop of my faith and I will have helped spread the word to many others.
Admin To Finish
This article shares some really personal parts of my journey, but I am a candid person. The images used in this article aren’t mine I found them on another blog written by Russ McCullin, you can find his original image here. As always, I welcome your thoughts, feedback, comments, advice, and most of all your prayers. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I urge you to be polite in your feedback even if you have taken great offence to or been angered by what is written. I am always learning and always willing to listen to those that state their point without hate or malice.
God bless you and keep you,