My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
Mark 4:1-25 (NASB)
He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching:
“Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.
And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that while seeing,they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.”
And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” (NASB)
“Usually one tries to win converts to his movement by painting it in optimistic colors, that men may be more easily drawn to it. Not He. He told His followers that three quarters of their efforts to bring in this new order of God‘s Kingdom would be lost—that some seed would fall on the wayside, the stony ground and the thorny ground, that only one soul out of four would be fruitful. And subsequent history has shown that He was absolutely right about this. It works out just about that way. At least I have found it so across the years. But if He was realistic on the difficult side of things, He was also realistic on the possibility side of things when He said that the good ground would bring forth thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold— 3,000, 6,000, 10,000 percent on the investment. Invest in persons, and when you touch this one and set him afire, he touches another, and he another and so on almost ad infinitum. An African proverb says that ‘any fool can tell how many apples are on a tree, but it takes a wise man to tell how many trees are in an apple.’”
-E. Stanley Jones, Is the Kingdom of God Realism?
“Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.
Who will not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”