Our neighborhood Bible study is continuing to read the book of Mark.

A quick review of Mark 3, since I didn’t post anything last week on this. One of the questions we keep asking is this: what is Jesus really like? Our culture tends to think of him as a really nice, gentle, meek sort of guy. But in reading Mark 3, we see that he was confrontational, at times angry and distressed, that he insulted his family, and often withdrew from the crowds to spend time with just a few of his closest friends. Jesus apparently didn’t have the people-pleaser syndrome.

Now, on to Mark 4, which begins with the parable of the sower. Here are some questions to consider.

Jesus compares our hearts to four different kinds of soil. The seeds of his truth fall on

1. A hard-packed path

2. rocky places

3. soil crowded with thorns

4. good soil

Jesus later explains what each of these metaphors means. Read Jesus’ explanation of the parable in verses 13-20. Which type of soil do you tend to have in your heart?

The verse that stood out to me in that section was this: “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 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.” (vs. 18,19)

So often my intentions to follow God, to receive his word, get choked out by worries, and even, my desires for stuff, for comfort. This past few weeks, the crashing markets and hurricanes, along with my own personal worries, have become thorns that threaten to choke out God’s truth.  My desire for comfort, for financial security, often shoves aside my desire for God. But this verse reminded me that what I really want is for my heart to be cleared of those thorny weeds of worry and materialism, so that I can grow, and help others to find God’s love.