Mark 4:4 (NKJV)
“And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.”
Have you ever seen lights, heard music, or maybe even seen fireworks in the distance that caused you to go check it out? How about seeing a crowd in your neighborhood and you walk over to join them to see what’s going on? Even if you went to any of the pro or even college sporting events, what do you see in the parking lot?
We as humans are very curious and will gravitate toward where something is happening. You could be in a neighborhood store and see a sign hanging up for a street fair that weekend, so you go check it out. Even tragedy brings crowds. You see flashing police lights or hear a siren from a fire truck and we can’t help by wonder what is going on.
We do this in other areas of our life as well. We join the crowd at work talking about the game last night, we are at a party and you hear a conversation that grabs your interest so you walk up to jump in, or we may just see some people we know hanging out and decide to stop over. If you really think about these situations, they are not always a positive thing.
That conversation at work about the game ends then quickly turns to how the boss is treating someone unfairly. Just like at the party, a debate about what new song is better stops abruptly when someone walks past and the guy to your right motions for everyone to lean in because he has some juicy gossip on them. But this never happens with a group of friends does it?
Most of you may be smiling right now because the only thing in that last part that usually doesn’t happen with a group of friends is them asking you to lean in and then speaking lower. They just blurt it out with, “Did you hear what Johnny did?” Then everyone jumps in with their comments or nods in agreement.
If we take this to the next level we would find what social psychologists call the mob mentality. That gathering where a situation is happening gets emotionally charged and on the brink of frenzy. That scene outside the stadium is filled with music, food, and refreshments as people tailgate. Some push it too far and let their emotions get the best of them or don’t even make it to the game. Some wake up the next morning without remembering what happened.
We have all been there and will be there again. It is our choice how we choose to be part of that group or choose to act. Think about your reactions and how you would feel if it were you they were talking about. I have been in all these situations and many more. I have joined in, I have nodded in agreement, other times I had to walk away. Lately I have been walking away more, choosing not to join at all, or even standing up for the person being chided.
We all know what to do and how to treat other people, but too often we follow others. We don’t have to be part of the in-crowd or even what people say is the right crowd and I found it sometimes to be a lonely place doing the right thing when I choose to not be part of the crowd at all. Then I remind myself that I am not alone at all because Christ is always walking beside me. Sometimes it is not easy till I call on Him for strength and guidance.
There are moments you will feel that doing the right thing or walking away can’t be done because something keeps pulling you back in. That feeling you have to join in or you may be part of the conversation next. Peer pressure is real and is largely viewed as a negative force because it can affect the way we do things at work, in the community, and even at home.
In Mark 4 Jesus told us the parable of the sower, or farmer if you prefer, who was spreading seed during planting season. Back in those days they did not have big machinery to neatly put the seed in the ground as we do today. Mostly it was just scattered by hand which caused it to go everywhere.
What we see in the opening scripture is that some of the seed fell outside the field where it was hard with no place to grow at all, but what does that mean to us? Jesus explained this further for the disciples in Mark 4:15, “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.”
Deep down inside we know the right thing to do and how we should act. In essence the Bible is talking about the part of human nature that reacts to the pressures we face from society and our peers to fit in. We also have to include the part that keeps us focused on ourselves or what we feel as the need to only have a good time at any expense.
Society as a whole has many pitfalls and distractions lurking in the shadows around us. These can take away from the person we can truly be or the path that God has for us. This is what Jesus was talking about that was being taken from our hearts. If you do not know where to start we can find some guidance in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Go to the Lord in prayer and ask him to protect your heart and give you the strength to resist the temptations and the pressures you are facing. He is there with His door always unlocked and He is calling for you to come in. So, join me and stop being part of the crowd and walk through the door to a better life. Jesus is waiting there to give us strength and lead us to where we need to be. Now please enjoy “The Arena (Part I).”
THE ARENA (PART I)
I keep moving toward the lights in the distance somewhere upon the hill,
I feel my heart is anxiously racing and my feet just won’t keep still.
I soon see others moving the same way as they are equally drawn,
I do not know why they are here I only want my pain to be gone.
Loss and disappointment have taken their toll over these many years,
As the burdens continue to mount they are amplifying my fears.
An arena now stands before me as the crowd outside begins to swell,
There seems to be something holding me back, what it is I cannot tell.
Lord, I feel I am being beckoned closer by a yearning from within,
We are now moving toward the gates but I have no ticket to get in.
Child, my door is always open for all those who choose to enter,
I have already paid your price of admission with a sacrificial tender.
When you come in you will find comfort and the answers that you seek,
But there is resistance you will encounter so you must not be weak.
What you find you must always believe and keep inside your heart,
Or it will take much longer for your new journey to start.
Simple Faith Christian