Sunday, January 08, 2006

NT06 - Mark 4, in which seeds are planted

The parable of the Seeds and the Sower is probably my favorite parable.

It points out an essential truth about evangelism - the evangelist is not responsible for conversion. Just as the seed grows of its own accord, under the influence of the sun and rain provided by God and the miracle of the tiny life within the seed, the new believer is enabled to come to faith by the Holy Spirit.

But here's a question - if the sower is not blind, doesn't he or she have a responsibility to sow seed in good soil? Is it a waste to sow along the path, or among briars? IOW, as evangelists, should we "qualify our prospects" as they say in the sales business? Should we only attempt to share the Gospel with those who are receptive?

I think the Scripture is clear that we are to sow EVERYWHERE. While the seed is precious, it is not scarce (an interesting economic notion!) It's not our responsibility to only sow where we think seed might grow. God is, after all, in the miracle business.

That's a new observation for me, btw - the notion that we are to sow everywhere. Thank God for blogging - if not for this process of thinking aloud I might not have had that insight.

For years I've held dear another insight, though: Seed grows best in good soil. The Great Plains of the US are ancient prairie. For thousands of years grass has grown, died after a season, and returned to earth to add to the soil. The soil is deep and rich - roots go very deep. The first farmers in Nebraska, Kansas and the Dakotas had to use special "sodbuster" plows to break it up.

Some folks come from families with a tradition of faith going back generations. Great-great-grandpa was a believer who prayed for his progeny and who raised faithful sons and daughters. That's deep soil.

I don't have that to offer my children and grandchildren. My own soil is pretty thin. But I can do what I can do - pull weeds, remove stones, and shoo away birds.

The rest, as Scripture makes clear, is up to God.

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