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Wednesday, February 28

Mark 4:13-20 (NLT) 

Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 

Devotion 

“The Luncheon of the Boating Party,” Renoir 1880-81
“The Luncheon of the Boating Party,” Renoir 1880-81 

Who doesn’t love a party centered around friends and food? The first miracle Jesus ever performed was at a party. Countless Bible stories center around a meal with friends.  And Renoir’s painting of his friends reminds us that sharing a meal with friends is one of God’s greatest gifts. 

Reading the Sower of the Seed our hearts sadden when Satan snatches up seed, and when other seed falls on rocky ground, but we stand up and cheer when seed falls on fertile ground producing a crop of 30-60-100 times! And then we move on in the passage. But wait. How did the fertile ground get to be that fertile?  What was the difference in the type of ground that produced the 30 times versus the 100 times? Could it be as simple as the Holy Spirit working though His people inviting followers and friends to share a meal? And in doing so transforming their soil? Peter’s “soil” was dramatically transformed in John 21 over a meal. 

We are commanded in Hebrews to continue meeting together and in 1 Thessalonians to encourage one another.  This is how ground becomes more fertile. The breaking of bread is a powerful tool in the Kingdom of God to build up one another, producing 30-60-100 times results. How simple. A meal with a few friends, new and old, with no agenda, appreciating one another with God at the center…who wouldn’t want to come to that party? 

Prayer 

Lord Jesus, help us to be doers of your Word. 

George Stewart