View print-optimized version

Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 4:21–34

He said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”

He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples. (NRSV)

You may have heard of the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I’m a huge fan, and I’m always intrigued in learning how people tend to give love, as well as receive it, in these five ways. For example, I show my love through gift giving—finding the most personal token I can for a holiday, celebration, or just because. However, I prefer to receive love through quality time, catching up with a friend or loved one over coffee.

In both instances, I give my all in thought and time, and it means the most when someone does that in return. I feel the deepest connection with someone when my offer is genuine and inspired by love. The same is true when I witness someone exhibiting their love language.

This same feeling of sharing gifts, whether literal or metaphorical, is described in Mark’s Gospel. Whether Jesus speaks of the parable of the lamp stand, or that of the mustard seed’s growth and harvest, we learn that the gifts of love, grace, and faith are not to be hidden or buried, but shared abundantly.

As followers of Christ, we are called to share the good news and the love of God with all those we meet. We are given so many gifts and blessings, and are called to spread our light, and harvest our talents, just as Jesus shares in today’s parables. We each have a different way to express love, so doing so without restraint would mean a world filled with life-giving relationships. That is a wonderful future to nurture and harvest.

God of abundant blessings, remind us to give our love abundantly, and nurture our faith freely as Jesus taught in the early church. Let us share love without restraint, and continue to grow in relationship with you and our fellow disciples. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens Harris, Director,
Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

Devotion index by date | Id like to receive daily devotions by email