The Word Along the Way Mark 4:1-20

There were so many that he had to sit in a boat offshore while the crowds gathered at the shore. Clearly, they were hungry for the word he had to offer.

Telling them stories, touching on the things – the images with which they could best identify – he taught them about life. So it wasn’t long before he was speaking about sowing seed. They would quickly understand how there are times when such seed brings forth a great harvest, and how at other times the seed is choked out, trampled on, forgotten.

Later, when the chosen inner circle pushed him for more details he said, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you,” adding that there were others who could not – or would not – understand what they were privileged to receive. It must have made them wonder about the great responsibility – and danger – that might come along with that privilege. After all, there were already powerful figures lining up to oppose them.

Years later, I wonder, do we too often forget about the privilege, the responsibility, and the danger which may be ours to carry as people of the Word? It seems so easy, too easy, to come to church and worship, plan our various festivals and activities, sit together and discuss things over a nice hot cup of coffee. Where is the challenge? Where is the call to something deeper and more powerful, not to mention, more costly?

It is still there. When we are serious about living out God’s will for our lives, as taught in God’s Word, sown along the Way – it is all still there. Both the promise and the peril, because has precious as the Word is – it is still too often choked out, trampled upon, forgotten.

So, as we begin this journey together, let us at first promise to take seriously, prayerfully, what we find along the Way.

People are still hungry, even desperate, for what we can offer in the process.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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