Love Me Do

Today’s scripture: Mark 4:21-25 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

The Parable of the Sower is probably one of the best known of Jesus’ parables. Most people who have studied the bible have heard it and probably have at least a rudimentary understanding of it. That’s good for the Parable of the Sower, but bad for the Parable of the Lamp Under the Basket. In fact, you may not even think that the verses that describe the effects of the lamp under the basket even are a separate parable.

Since the description of the lamp under the basket comes right after the Parable of the Sower, it’s easy to think that it is just an extension of the parable and means that if “you” are one of the seeds that has successfully sprouted and not fallen victim to thorns and whatnot, you are then not to hide the message of God “under your basket”, but rather to “let it shine” by spreading it to others. And to be honest, I think that is a perfectly reasonable interpretation and is completely in line with what Jesus taught.

But for a moment, I would like to take the light under the basket in isolation. When we read it by itself, and without the preceding parable, the first thing I ask myself is, “What is the light referring to?” I’m reminded that Jesus is often referred to as “The Light”, the first couple verses of John make that clear. But what if “light” meant not only Christ, but also Love? Would it be a fair leap to make, if God is love, and Christ  is “light”, to say that “Light” might also mean “love”?

If you agree with my leap — or if you’ll just bear with me for a minute — and think that Mark (or the Holy Spirit through him) might have been also talking about love, then verses 24 and 25 start to take on a new meaning (and, at least for me, make more sense):

“the measure (of love) you give will be the measure (of love) you get, and still more (love) will be given; and from those who have (no love), even what they have will be taken away.” (emphasis added by me)

When I think of things this way, I can’t help but reflect on families who deep down probably love each other, but never say it, and only show it indirectly, by taking care of one another. I have a friend who I’m sure was loved by his parents, but all through his childhood, they never said it or showed it in overt ways. No hugs, no kisses, and no “I love you’s” when they parted or went to bed. Sure, they provided for all his physical needs, but in effect, they were keeping their “love” under a basket.

Thought for the day: Am I keeping my love under a basket? What love am I not receiving, because I’m not letting it shine?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.