Sometimes I go to church and nothing being said particularly pertains to my life. Not so today. Matt was talking about the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4: 3-8 (ESV)). Quickly,the story goes like this: A farmer throws some seed on the ground. The first batch lands on the ground and is immediately eaten up by birds. The second group falls on rocky soil where a plant grows but then dies quickly in the hot sun because the roots aren’t deep. The third group grows but gets choked by weeds and doesn’t produce anything. The fourth group of seeds falls in fertile soil and produces grain.
This parable is basically a story about how people respond to hearing about God. I couldn’t help thinking that is also could describe how people respond to living a healthy lifestyle.
Have you ever been living a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious food and exercising and had friends and/or family say to you, “You’re nuts. I’ll take my chips and watch the game while you run 8 miles like a crazy person and eat stupid things like quinoa. How do you even pronounce that?” (KEEN-wah, FYI.) This corresponds to the first part of the parable: “3 Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.” They completely reject a healthy lifestyle. I kind of fell into this category last year. I didn’t even pretend to exercise or eat right. Henri and I killed Zombies on Wii while drinking rum and Coke and eating chips with garlic dip. (We did reach the final level and save the world, however, so all was not lost.)
The second response to a healthy lifestyle is an enthusiastic beginning that totally flames out when the going gets rough. Think of all the people flooding the gym the day after New Year‘s. How many continue by February 2? This is like the verse, “5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.”
What a powerful image. Seeing something that had potential to bloom get scorched. Sometimes our grand plans for health get interrupted, don’t they? You’re doing so well then you get an injury and even after the boo-boo is long gone you fall back into old patterns of crappy eating. My personal scorcher is fighting the temptation of junk food. I’m forcing myself to learn more about healthy food right now in hopes that this knowledge will take root in my brain and I will embrace vegetables. But rocky road ice cream is never that far away.
The third response is an interesting one. Healthy livingis never rejected outright, but it’s not really enacted either, so you never really get the results you want. If you would like to see this evidence in action, just check out my chubby runner picture.
“7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.” I was exercising enough to run a half marathon, but not eating clean enough to not have a dress size that wasn’t double digits.
The final response is the ideal. “8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” This is where I desire to plant my healthy lifestyle. I’m not there yet, as evidenced by my little cheat at the Ice Ball last night (which Daniel totally called me out on via text – guess he reads the blog sometimes. Doh!)
I’ll get there. Hope you get there too.
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