The parable of the sower in Mark 4 has always been one of my favorites. As my husband related it in his sermon, he tied it beautifully into Spiritual applications. I of course immediately connected it with health applications.
You remember the parable right? Jesus is speaking about the Sower, representing Jesus. The Word of God, represented by seed, is scattered. First the seed lands on the path where birds come and pick it apart, taking it away. Some seed falls on rocky soil where it doesn’t grow because it has no root. Other seed falls among the thorns and gets choked off by other foliage. But some seed grows in good soil and flourishes.
So how does this tie in with health?
In Jesus’s first example, scattered seed is eaten by birds. The seed, representing God’s Word, never changes. The birds represent Satan and false teachers, who, after someone hears Truth turn away because they either don’t want to believe or desire to follow God. They already have a god, themselves. They are unteachable.
Occasionally certain patients are “know-it-all’s” who fail to listen and change because “I know all that already.” Sad for them and frustrating for any health professional who is attempting to change an unhealthy patient’s lifestyle. “Well, I’ve already read about that in Prevention magazine.” Do they really know more than the teacher? Since they are unteachable, they therefore fail to change their ways which leads into a downward health spiral.
The second scattered seed falls upon rocky soil. These patients start out with joy and determination! But they want instant gratification and therefore fail to grow. They create no roots grounded through educational, strategizing processes. A garden doesn’t grow in a day, neither does a healthy lifestyle. It takes a lot of deeply planted ideas, patience and nurturing to change one’s habits. When changing a habit gets tough, they’ll skip appointments. There’s always a solution but they’ll find an excuse as to why they fell off their program.
These are “yes, but” patients. “Yeah, I know I should exercise but I couldn’t this week because I was babysitting my niece.” Okay, then get her involved and exercise together. “Oh I could, but she needs a nap after kindergarten.” Okay then exercise while she’s napping. “Well yeah, but the music might wake her up,” and on and on. One must want to change more than I want it for them!!!
The third example is the seed scattered among thorns. The thorns represent the world. A patient hears what he’s to do but life gets in the way. Restaurants, Super Bowl parties, stress, emotions, drugs, alcohol, television shows, even Aunt Martha’s cookies or other unexpected activity becomes a stumbling block to health. Well the world contains many obstacles (thorns) which block us from studying God’s Word or preventing a healthier lifestyle.
These people play the “victim” card There’s always an excuse not to do the right thing. “Well I couldn’t hurt Aunt Martha’s feelings! I had to eat them!” God always provides a way out so there’s no excuse to fail. Start strategizing other options using God-given Wisdom.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
In the last example, seed fell on good soil. Those heard the Word, did as it commanded and produced success. Do likewise. God wants you to be successful!