January 29, 2020 (Wednesday) - Is God Crazy? - A Reflection on Mark 4:1-20

Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

The Purpose of the Parables

When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’ ”

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

We often imagine that Jesus spoke to people in parables so that he would understand difficult concepts, but in truth he told them to confound them! What?! Listen to what he says to his apostles: To YOU has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables in order that they may listen but not understand! Wow! The question is why? I have already answered that in a previous reflection and I suggest you watch that, because it really is insightful (see January 30, 2019 - Riddle Me This)

Today I want to talk about how crazy God is! (Haha. Yeah, it’s one of those days when I shock everybody senseless! ) You don’t think God is crazy? Ok, let me prove it to you. Imagine you are Abraham. You have a huge estate and everything is going well and God suddenly comes to you and tells you to just leave it all. What are you gonna think?  You go to your wife Sarah and tell her to start packing her bags because you are leaving. She asks you, “Where?” And you say you don’t have a clue. What’s she gonna say? You got it: "Are you crazy?”

The story is not over yet. You get to be a hundred years old, and God comes to you and tells you that you’re gonna be the father of nations. What are you gonna think? You are a hundred years old, man; nothing is working. Then you go to Sarah and tell her, “Honey, get ready, God says we’re gonna make a baby.” Sarah is ninety years old! What’s she gonna say to you? You got it. “Are you crazy?” Hang on a second, the story is still not over.

You do have a son — a wonderful boy you name Isaac. You greatly love this boy, but then when he is a young man, God tells you that you have to sacrifice him. What? Seriously, folks, tell me now what you think? You go to Sarah and you tell her God’s telling you to off your son. What is she gonna say? I don’t even need to say it, do I? “Are you crazy?” And, by inference, since God is the one asking all this, he is crazy. And if you look at every major character in the Bible — Moses, Gideon, Mary — you see that he tells them to do crazy things.

Now — listen carefully — God is not crazy. Duh! So why do we imagine the things he asks us to do are? Because as the prophet Isaiah, speaking for God said, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, are your ways are not my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Trying to understand the ways of God is like an ant trying to understand our ways. Yet, God makes it possible for us to understand him. But that takes a deep hunger to know him.

Dig into Scripture. Dig deep. Dig long. Meditate on it. And you’ll begin to understand. Now, go make disciples of all nations! And don’t say, “Are you crazy?”

Oh, and by the way, I wrote a song about The Sower and the Seed last year. If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen. It’s sung by two of my young friends! They’re hilarious! Here is the link: https://youtu.be/zXGPhkaE_8o