There are always categories of people. We can categorize people by geographical location, intellect, race, economic status, denominational affiliation – and in many other ways. We can categorize people as either “good, bad or ugly” or as “those who think, those who think they think, or those who would rather fight than think.” Or we can categorize ourselves and others according to our hearts’ receptivity and responsiveness to the Word and message of the Lord.
That’s the kind of categorizing that Jesus did in the parable He told in Mark 4:1-20. Using the illustration of a farmer sowing seed on different types of soils, Jesus pointed out four categories of people who have differing responses to the Word and message of the Lord. He said that there are people with “hard hearts” who never really receive the Lord’s message because the Devil steals it before it can sink into their hearts. There are those with “rocky hearts,” who receive the Lord’s message with joy, but loses the meaning and life-change that comes with that message because they have such shallow roots which cause them to wilt and fall as soon as difficulty arises. Then, there are those with “worldly hearts” who readily embrace the Lord’s message but soon drift away from it due to their infatuation with the pleasures and cares of the world. Finally, there are those with “hungry hearts” who hear and accept God’s message – and ultimately bear fruit for the Lord and produce a great harvest for the kingdom of God.
Question – “What kind of ‘heart’ have you primarily demonstrated that you have had in the past?” Would you say that you have primarily had a “hard heart,” “rocky heart,” “worldly heart” – or a “hungry heart?” Almost all of us, in times past, have had “hard hearts” – times when we heard the Word of the Lord and rejected it rather than embraced it. Most of us have had rocky hearts at times, when we embraced the Word of the Lord, but it didn’t stick with us because we were living such shallow lives. Most people reading this devotion, however, have probably moved past those first two stages and would have to determine whether they have primarily had a worldly heart or a hungry heart.
What are the characteristics of a “worldly heart?” Jesus said they have a preoccupation with the cares of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for nice things. All of us have had such hearts at some time or another in our lives – and perhaps you still have such a heart. If so, please consider the fact that what the Lord offers to us far exceeds what the world offers to us – and repent of worldliness in your life.
What are the characteristics of a “hungry heart?” The Bible teaches that “hungry-hearted” people are those who are seeking the Lord (Jeremiah 29:13), loving the Lord (Matthew 22:37), living for the Lord (John 15:10), praying to the Lord (Matthew 6:9-13), daily searching out God’s Word (Acts 17:10-12), serving the Lord and others (John 13:1-17) – and that hungry-hearted people also “bear fruit for the Lord” as they minister and disciple others (John 15:8).
As you pray today: 1) Pray that the Lord will reveal to you the kind of “heart” that you have – and that you will respond accordingly with either repentance or thanksgiving; 2) Pray that the Lord will give you a “hungrier and hotter heart” than you’ve ever had before; and 3) Pray that the Lord will use you this day to sow the “seed of His Word” into the heart and lives of others – that they may come to the Lord and themselves “bear fruit” for the Lord (John 15:8)! The Lord wants us to be “harvesters” for Him!