Lenten Devotional: March 16 | Mark 4:1-20

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | Mark 4:1-20

The Rev. Dr. Wesley Hill

One of the things that has been most powerful about Jesus’ teaching over the centuries is how he uses simple, homely stories and images. Today’s reading is a good example. Jesus pictures something many of us have seen too: a farmer wandering up and down a field scattering seeds. The farmer in Jesus’ story is generous and liberal: he flings his seeds every which way. Some of them land on soil that is inhospitable for growth, and some of them, eventually, land on good soil.

So far, so comprehensible. But then Jesus draws a strange lesson from the story. He calls us to be a certain kind of soil — the kind that can nurture a seed into a full-grown plant. That’s strange because, in real life, soil isn’t able to modify its own condition. In this way, Jesus uses an image we thought we already knew to make a point that is anything but obvious: He is calling us to change our minds about who he is and who we are, to open up our closed hearts, to embrace and nurture the seed of his teaching, to trust and hope.

Lord Jesus, help us to become good, fertile soil that can be a welcoming home for your teaching.

The Rev. Dr. Wesley Hill is an assisting priest at Trinity Cathedral and an associate professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He is the author most recently of The Lord’s Prayer: A Guide to Praying to Our Father (Lexham Press, 2019).