Mark 4:23-29 “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you-- and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."
He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain-- first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
It occurred to me recently that we have a whole generation of people that have the “buffet” mentality. Sometimes my son will gripe and moan about what is put before him at dinner lamenting the choice as if it were some sort of Guantanamo gumbo or something. He gets the usual comparisons to starving children in China, the brow-beating, and the reminder that it is God’s perfect provision for today.
The microwave generations have not been served well with their pre-packaged instant gratification in all things. Who could argue in favor of microwave popcorn over stove top pop with real melted butter except for some lazy ass? That’s right I didn’t stutter.
One of the things I find frustrating these days is that technology has driven us indoors and away from others. Thank God for TIVO – it’s the one invention that actually allows the opposite. Nowadays we have Cell phones, IPODs, and MYSPACE to secure our perimeter and chain us to ourselves.
We rarely buy CD’s anymore, we just pick and choose and download to our “selections” on ITunes and create our own online playlists. Guilty. Now this kind of freedom may seem harmless and desirable, yet I find it difficult to engage when one has their “Skullcandy” ricocheting tunes at 100 decibels through their, well, skull.
I’ve approached coworkers desks only to get the stink-faced “What?!” as if I had interrupted their honeymoon. What follows is the slow disassembly of the ear-wired connection, followed by the sigh while they press the pause function, and finally the “yeah what’s-up?”
“Oh nothing, I just wanted see if you wanted any donuts, but they're gone now. A dozen were eaten in the time it took you to undock from your IPOD. Sorry to have bothered you.”
And the only wave we might get from a neighbor driving down the street these days is if they can muster the strength to raise their pinky (it might as well be “tall man”) from the edge of their Razor as the pass by engrossed in whatever conversation that couldn’t wait to have on a landline.
When I checked out that term on Wikipedia I felt nostalgic. Give me a dialer and we’ll be down right retro! I know a number of people who don’t even have home phones anymore. God forbid they ever need 9-1-1. “I’m sorry sir – you’re breaking up. Did you say you had a burger or a burglar? Call us back from a landline please.”
How do we as a church reach a generation of techno-geeks that are more interested in being fed information and entertainment than gleaning information from a soft-covered collection of 66 incredible books? I suspect the E-version won’t make their podcast. My son can be up in his room with his door shut and August Burns Red burning through his brain and never hear me when I call.
It seems metaphoric to where society is today. God is still calling yet we’ve drowned Him out with the noise of our narcissism. We’ve used every piece of technology invented to fill up our schedules with activity and have forgotten how to rest in Him. We’ve made His world about us and we have become our own worst obstacle to intimacy with the Father and others.
How do we fulfill the two greatest commandments to love Him and others if we only hear what we pick and choose that our itching ears deem acceptable? The perimeter is secure, the personal space cordoned off, and the Do Not Disturb sign hangs conspicuously from the wires or phone stuck to our ears. We have caller I.D. and only those in our “Top 5” circle of friends can penetrate the “network,” otherwise you’ll just have to leave a message and I’ll hit you back later when it’s convenient.
Let me challenge the beloved to look outward again. Be accessible. We’ve been told that it’s important to have “unencroachable” family time, and we should, but I suspect that has become an easy excuse to get slothful and neglectful of communitus industria (community on purpose).
It is our call to “Go into all the world…” so how do we make a difference in it if we consume it for ourselves? How can we have “ears to hear” if they're plugged with the noise of our appetites. May we hunger again for His Word and His will. If you want to know if something is an “Idol,” lay it down for a week and see.
I want MYSPACE to be His. I want my Facebook to be conformed into His image and likeness. I want my playlist to glorify Him and further His purpose in me. The passage above is tucked neatly in the middle of three parables about “seed.” First is the familiar parable of the sower, then it directly precedes the example of the grain, and finally the illustration of the mustard seed.
What goes into our ears is seed. It is interesting to note that the seed is growing whether we sleep or are awake because it is the soil that makes it grow. We can be fertile soil for bad seed and it can grow in our slumber. Consider carefully what you hear – it may not be what was said.
What kind of earth are you?
What kind of seed is growing in you?
What kind of fruit will be harvested from you?