“Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him” (Mark 4:25; Jesus speaking).
Corresponding with Matthew 13, this passage is sandwiched between Mark’s accounts of The Parable of the Sower and Jesus’ explanation of it to His disciples. In Mark 4:14, Jesus identifies Himself as “the farmer.” He goes on to say that His Word, like the seed sown on the pathway, reaches some people and then, “as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”
Is He talking about a person being “saved” and then Satan robbing him of his salvation? Absolutely not! Don’t give Satan so much credit – he’s a created being, and he’s on a very short leash, held in the hand of Almighty God. Just a thought here, but perhaps Jesus was referring to the too, too busy lifestyles of today’s people. We hear the “seed,” the Word, as we breeze in and out of church or flip through the channels or glance at our Bibles; but we never slow down and ABSORB it.
Jesus goes on to explain that there are “Others, like seed sown on rocky places, [who] hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time" (Mark 4:16-17a).
There’s a mouthful in this one! Twice in Revelation alone we see Jesus identified as “the root of David” – see Revelation 5:5 and 22:16. Again, I don’t believe He’s talking about temporary salvation. No, it’s like breaking off a tree limb and sticking it in the ground; without a root, it will die.
So many people get caught up in the emotional aspects of religion TEMPORARILY. But it doesn’t last. Maybe the reason many denominations have gotten away from raising hands, shouting “Hallelujah!” or expressing any other joy in worship is because they’ve seen too many “temporary” believers show all that outward stuff and then “when trouble or persecution comes, … quickly fall away” (Mark 4:17b).
My quiet little maternal grandmother Ann and her equally meek sister Jocie belonged to a Protestant denomination that today is one of the most sedate churches you can walk into. Back in their younger days, these two would “get happy in the Lord” and run the aisles, shouting praises and waving their hands. Today, they’d be asked to leave if they disrupted a service like that.
While I’m all for order and agree with Paul’s statement that “God is not a god of disorder” (I Corinthians 14:33), I still think we have to be careful not to get so upright and uptight that we “quench the Spirit” (I Thessalonians 5:19, KJV).
Which brings us to Mark 4:18-19 where Jesus explains the “seed sown among thorns,” saying that “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
Jesus says that these people may accept the “seed” of faith, but they let “worries…, [the pursuit of] wealth and the desires for other things… choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
Here is the person who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior and then stays in spiritual diapers, focusing on everything in this world and nothing beyond it. This is a person who is so much like the world that it’s impossible (and not our job anyway) to figure out whether or not he’s truly a believer – he can “talk the talk,” but his walk appears to be sadly lacking.
Thankfully, it’s not up to us to “sort ‘em out” – that’s God’s job. Ours is to love and pray for them.
Jesus ends Mark 4:25 with the same solemn message we see in the Matthew passages: “Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” If you ain’t got Jesus, you ain’t got nothin’.
“No man can lose what he never had.” (Izaak Walton)
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (NIV).