Mark Four Students

I was reading Mark chapter 4 this morning and I had a thought relating this passage to the classroom. The four kinds of soils are four kinds of hearers and teachers have all four kinds of students in their classrooms on any given day. 

The first student is the hard ground hearer. This student sits in the classroom and though his ears may hear the teacher's words, the teaching goes no further than his eardrums, because he has an unresolved problem with the teacher and has set his heart not to receive anything the teacher says. The student learns nothing.

The second student is the stony ground hearer. This student hears the lesson and is excited by what he hears until he attempts to implement what he has heard, because his initial efforts fail. When the learning does not come easily, he shuts down and his enthusiasm turns to pessimism; he convinces himself either that the teacher cannot teach or that he cannot possibly learn. The student learns nothing.

The third student is the weedy ground hearer. This student hears the lesson and begins to implement what she has heard and is doing well until distractions pull her focus away and her progress wilts and dies. The distractions can be external or internal, the internal being the most difficult to ignore. This student is with the teacher, gaining understanding until another voice springs up - the voice of a classmate or a voice in her mind - and then she jumps off the teacher's train of thought and doesn't even realize she is standing beside the tracks as that train passes her by until it is too late, The student doesn't really learn anything.

The fourth student is the good soil hearer. This student hears the lesson and implements what she has heard. She has respect for her teacher and can receive from her, she does not get discouraged by mistakes or when she doesn't understand immediately, and she doesn't allow herself to be distracted by external stimuli or internal drama. She maintains a relationship with her teacher so she can approach her when she needs additional help. She perseveres when she doesn't 'get it' right away, because she wants to learn. She learns to ignore or set aside pleasures and problems in the classroom, because she knows she must redeem the time. She learns and brings forth fruit.

As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit who is the great Teacher. The Holy Spirit is at work in the classroom in a Christian school if the teacher and the students choose to operate in Him. The Holy Spirit can open hearts to make them receptive. The Holy Spirit can encourage hearts when learning does not come easily. The Holy Spirit can quicken hearts when tey tend to wander into distraction. The Holy Spirit can keep hearts and minds fixed and focused on learning to the glory of God. Amen!

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