Sowing The Gospel Seed
God guarantees the quality of the Gospel seed. It is not stale; it is not sterile. Yet even under ideal growing conditions, not all of the Gospel seed sprouts. Some of it is caught away by birds, other seeds are not positioned deeply enough to grow, and then there are those that sprout but, under the heat of the sun, wither and die. Nevertheless, as we sow much seed in the field, there will be much return. Our faith does not require us to believe that every seed that we plant will sprout, grow and become fruitful. What our faith requires us to do is trust that if we sow enough seed, there will be a harvest in Godís field.
Many people try to witness and are disappointed in the results. When they are disappointed, they grow disheartened and when they are disheartened, they lose their courageÖuntil the idea of witnessing looms like an insurmountable task.
Nevertheless, our disappointments may still be Godís appointments. He who arranges all things can, by innumerable small events and episodes that we call coincidences, make impressions upon the hearts of those He is winning to Himself. When it comes to witnessing, our hope rests not on our planning nor our presentation Ė but on the sure and certain knowledge that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to Him. God accomplishes the conversion of sinners through various people who take part in the many witnessing opportunities He appoints to win an individual. Likewise, the person who would take satisfaction in witnessing must witness to many.
The parable of the sower (Matt. 13:1-23), shows us that while many seeds are strewn, only a few grow and come to fruition. Yet it is difficult for a believer in Jesus to accept that many seeds we sow will not come to fruition, or at least not in a time and place known to us. It is also difficult to accept the fact that the most we can hope for is to play a small part in any personís conversion process. It is human nature to want to be the principal party or agent in anotherís conversion, but God uses many people to make impressions. He uses many to give energy to those impressions through prayer Ė the kind of prayer that moves mountains and rips blindfolds from the eyes. It therefore makes sense that every believer should touch as many lives as possible with the Gospel.
We cannot allow ourselves to become disappointed because the first seeds we plant do not grow and sprout. Each seed has a sprouting and growing and fruition appointment with God. Likewise, those of us who have witnessed over the years have encountered people who resisted the Word of God or they desisted from listening. Some even blistered when they understood what we were saying, but much to our surprise and joy, we later found that through other means, they came to faith in Christ.
God is constantly reaching out through the Holy Spirit, wooing people, making small impressions, creating questions in peopleís minds and hearts. Sometimes an impression is made by a funeral oration, or the verse on a Christmas card, or classical music such as Handelís Messiah. These impressions are Gospel seeds, the personís heart is a field, and though that heart might be hardened, all of us have seen granite cracked by the seed of a tree that lodged itself in a crevice. Thus, we can understand the proper prayer for the witnessing Christian is this: "Lord, may You send more seeds to fall on the heart of my friend. May they carry many impressions of You. Open their hearts and open their minds that the Gospel seeds which You are sowing through so many of Your servants might take root."
Reprinted with permission from the Jews for Jesus Classic Edition Newsletter, copyright 1999.