What Is Important

My decisions are to be made on the truth of God's Word, not on the circumstances around me.

Scripture: Mark 4


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. Man, I look forward to these times when we can just share the Word of God. It’s like a vacation with pay. [chuckle] Really, it is. Oh, I enjoy being with you.

What we’re gonna do in the next couple of days is just walk through the Book of Mark and hit the high spots here and there, to remind us of some of the things that God may have said to our hearts during our more detailed study of the Book during the past weeks. Is that Alright with you? Well, I hope so, because I sort of plan to do it anyway.

Well, we’re looking at Chapter 4 of Mark, and here you have the parable of the sower who went out to sow his seed and the different kinds of ground on which it fell: The wayside, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, and the good soil. And the fact that the kind that, the seed fell on good ground, they are the people who really hear the word and receive it and bring forth fruit. Now, the thing that struck me as I thought about this was that there is a difference, not in the Word of God, its power, its penetration, its effect. There’s a difference not at the level of the Word of God, but the difference is in the kind of heart, the kind of ground, if you will, into which the seed may fall.

And so I began to think now, “What kind of a reception am I giving the Word of God?” The wayside, that’s hard-packed soil, packed down by the passing of many passing feet and it says the birds picked that up in a hurry. Then there was some on stony ground, there wasn’t any place for the roots to go, so while it germinated and sprang up, it withered away quickly. And then there was the seed that fell among weeds, thorns, and they grew up and choked the seed, and it yielded no fruit. Then there was the good ground. Well, the disciples said, “What is all this?” And He said, “Don’t you know this parable? Here’s the answer. The sower sows the Word, God’s Word, and these are they by the wayside, when they have heard Satan come at them immediately and taketh away the Word that was sown in their hearts. Likewise, those that are sown on stony ground, they immediately receive the Word with gladness but have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time, and afterward when affliction or persecution arises for the Word’s sake, immediately they’re offended, they quit. And then these are they which are sown among thorns, they hear the Word but the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches and lusts,” that’s our desires for other things, “Enter in and choke the Word and it become unfruitful. Then there are those that are good ground and bring forth fruit.”

So I was asking myself, “What kind of ground am I?” You wanna ask yourself that question? “What kind of ground am I giving God as He puts His Word into my heart?” Obviously, the preoccupied person that has no time really for God, or His Word, or prayer, the enemy of our soul sees to it that any passing impact from the Word is taken away quickly, like the birds picked up the seeds on the wayside. And then, of course, there’s the stony ground, no root. And it says, “When persecution or affliction comes, then they’re offended and they quit.” No root. It doesn’t get down far enough into your heart, it doesn’t really affect the basis for your decisions. See, we decide on the basis of what we consider is really important. And what seems to be happening here is that, although some people are cordial to the Word and they listen to it and receive it, as it says, with gladness, yet it never gets down into the real basis for every day decisions, so that when something unpleasant arises, the first thing to be sacrificed is the cause of that unpleasantness, namely the Word of God.

Now, see, I need to be reminded that my decisions are to be made on the truth of God’s Word, not on the circumstances around me. It’s not whether or not I’m happy, it’s not whether or not people are kind to me, it’s not whether or not I’m being advanced or promoted, it’s not whether I’m being harassed, discriminated against or persecuted. These things do happen, I’m not saying they don’t happen. But the real important matter for the believer is how important is God’s will, how important is God’s Word, and how important is Jesus. That is the real basis.

And then there was the thorns, and they represent the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things. You have your choice and I have my choice and anything I say to you, I’m saying to Bob Cook as well, you understand that. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there. I don’t tell you anything I don’t really know about.

We have our choice as to what will be the supreme concern in our life at any given time. The cares of this world. You’re a vice-president in charge of sales. I know some of our listeners are exactly in that position and you wake up in the morning and you say, “Oh, boy, I’ve got to finish that contract for the XYZ company and then I’ve gotta go over and see if I can get the old man to sign it and then I have to see whether or not expediting can get the goods shipped in time.” And you have a whole day laid out there before you even set foot on the floor. You’ve done a half a day’s work in your mind. The cares of your job were with you when you woke up. Have you ever stopped to think that the day might go a lot better if instead of worrying about the thing that you have, things, that is, that you have to do, cares of this world, instead of worrying about them first off, you talk to your Heavenly Father?

He knows what’s going to happen. You can’t see around the corner, but He’s already there. As Francis Schaeffer said in his book, “He’s the God who is there.” I don’t have to wait for Him to arrive, and He knows. The Bible says He knoweth the way that I take and when He’s finished with me, I’ll come forth as gold.

Now, the cares of this world. Being overwhelmed with secular and workaday responsibilities can cut out your spiritual fruitfulness. Try this, I’ve benefited by this procedure many, many, many times. Try this. Go to sleep with scripture on your mind, repeat the 23rd Psalm or some other familiar passage and just as you’re about to drift off to sleep, you quote scripture and talk to your Blessed Lord. Tell Him goodnight. Now, when you do that and you drift off to sleep with scripture in your mind, your unconscious mind, the computer portion of your mind, chews on that all night long and turns it over and meditates on it, even though you may not be conscious.

So what happens when you wake up? The first thought in your mind will be that, conscious thought, that is, in your mind will be that which your unconscious mind, the computer, has been working on all night long and you’ll wake up to Jesus. Now, that’s what the Psalmist meant, I am convinced, when he said, “When I awake, I am still with thee.” Oh, the cares of this world don’t really have to get you down. I know you’re busy. I know that there’s a lot of pressure on you. I know that there’s too much month at the end of the money. I know that you’re trying somehow to make things balance out, and I know that you feel the pressure of other people who are breathing down your neck, as we say. I know that, but Jesus knows it too and you have the inestimable privilege of turning things over to Him, not just sometimes, but every step along the way, pray your way through the day.

But, oh, do that thing about getting started with the Lord. Go to sleep with scripture and your blessed Lord on your mind and you’ll wake up with Him and you can talk with Him and get started in the day without being a fugitive. Why should you be a refugee running scared throughout the whole day when you could be poised and ready for what’s coming? Good idea?

Well, this is the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. I never met a millionaire yet who had enough. Did you? Always trying to make a little more money, make another deal, a little more profit. Somehow, rather, that’s the nature of human nature. Somebody asked Samuel Gompers, the renowned head of union labor many years ago, said, “What is it that labor wants?” And he answered in one word, “More.” Well, I want to tell you that isn’t limited to the labor union groups. No, indeed. That’s a human nature factor. More.

I once heard a minister talking in a Chicago pulpit years ago and he said, “Now, we have a favorite expression around our house. Well, when we first moved into our house,” he said, “We needed drapes. And so we skimped and scraped and saved and finally we got enough money to order and install some nice drapes at the windows. Then this favorite phrase came into play. Do you know what that phrase was?” he asked. It was this, “Now the next thing I want is… ” Oh, there’s always a next thing, isn’t there? Yes, there is. Deceitfulness of riches. You never get satisfied. I recall the man who said, years ago when I was still in college, a millionaire who had made his money and he said, “I’ve made my millions, but I’ve lost my family. My children despise me and I’ve lost my health.” He said, “It wasn’t a very good bargain.” Oh, no, deceitfulness of riches.

Money is not to be used to satisfy. Money is to be used to glorify God. Paul said to Timothy, “Tell them that are rich that they not trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God which giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” Don’t put your trust in money ’cause it can vanish in a hurry. Some wag said years ago to me, “They say money talks, but the only thing it ever said to me was, ‘Goodbye, pal. I’ll never see you again.'” [chuckle] Well, maybe so.

Then he said, “The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things.” Have you ever wanted something so bad you could almost taste it? I have, not once, but many times. “Oh, I want that!” Well, I think you have to take your desires and bring them up to the Lord Jesus Christ. He prayed, “Not my will, but thine be done. Not as I will, but as thou wilt. My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me and to finish His work.” Desires are not wrong in themselves but they need to be brought to the cross so that the Lord Jesus can steer them and use them to glorify Himself. Well, we’ll go on the next time we get together.

Dear Father today, may we be good ground on which the Word of God may fall to bring fruit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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