I love these topics.
Most pastors, however, shy away from talking about these important aspects of following Jesus for fear of offending or being labeled as a money grabber. The majority of The Church has been painted with a wide brush because of the imbalanced and improper teaching of a minority. As a result, Christian leaders fail to consistently teach and preach on tithing, stewardship and generosity.
This hasn’t helped the American Church much. The Bible says TOO MUCH to be overlooked. Such is the case with the Book of Mark. I noticed a number of passages that directly or indirectly address our possessions. In my last blog I wrote about chapter 2. This week I want to hopscotch over to chapter 4. The focus of most of this chapter is about seeds and sowing. Jesus told three parables about seeds: one about the farmer sowing seed on various soil conditions, another about the Kingdom begin like a seed that sprouted and grew, and a final one about a mustard seed and became the largest of all plants. Each of these Jesus Stories were about seeds.
Seeds. So small…but oh so much potential.
In Mark 4:8 “the seed fell on good soil…came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” In Mark 4:27 “the seed sprouts and grows…first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” In Mark 4:31 “the smallest seed you plant in the ground, when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants.”
So small…but oh so much potential.
The Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 9, expounds upon the concepts of seeds and sowing and connects it to an encouragement for generosity.
Check this out: 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
I encourage you to muse on this passage of Scripture this week and ask the Lord this simple question: “Lord, how should I respond to your Word?”