Wednesday, August 3, 2011

God Brings the Harvest

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.
Mark 4:26-29

There were many things a farmer in the first century could do to try to ensure a successful crop. He could prepare the earth to make it receptive to the seed. He could prevent weeds from invading the gardens and choking the seedlings. He could even fertilize his plants. But in the end, the farmer knew all too well that the success of his crop depended on many factors that were out of his control. He couldn't control the rain or the heat or the cool. He couldn't control whether bugs ruined the crop. In fact, he didn't even really know how seeds grew. He didn't have the science to know. He was painfully aware of the fact that the success of his harvest depended more on the kindness of God than on himself. He sowed the seed but God made it grow.

The same is true when it comes to sowing the seed of the kingdom. The seed is the word of God, the gospel. We do not know how God will use that word planted in people's hearts to bring them to salvation. And sometimes we look at the seed and we think, "This is just a small thing, it won't make a difference. How could it ever amount to something so big in their life?" But that is how the kingdom of God works. It starts small, but our God has a way of making it grow quickly in fertile soil.

Sow the seed and trust God for the results. I know that you are scared to talk to other people about Jesus, but it's okay to start small. Just try to work the name Jesus into your conversations. That is powerful. Or try to work some scriptural truth into your interactions. It may seem small and insignificant but throw it out there anyway. God will do with it what He pleases. If it should grow, He'll make it grow. Remember that if it is God's word then it will accomplish the purpose that God sent it out for. (Isaiah 55:10-11).

You are called to make disciples of the whole world (Matthew 28:19). That is your first calling, your number one job as a Christian. You may not be Billy Graham, and that's okay. God isn't asking you to save people. That is His job! All you have to do is scatter seed. Some people do not know that when the Great Commission says "Go therefore into all the world and make disciples," that it can actually be translated "as you go." I think that is a very helpful way of thinking about it. You don't have to be on a mission trip to share the gospel. As you go through life, wherever you find yourself, plant gospel seeds. If your attempts at sharing Christ seem small and like they won't amount to anything, take a minute to look at a mustard seed and remember that our God uses small beginnings to bring about big changes. God wants to use you to rescue souls from Hell and all you have to do is sow little seeds. So...sow!

For further consideration...
  • This week instead of further reading, here are some ideas I have gathered from a number sources (some are even from teens) about ways that you can sow gospel seeds.
    • Invite people to church.
    • Speak the name of Jesus every chance you get. There is power in that name.
    • Bring Scripture up in conversations by comparing real-life situations to stories found in Scripture.
    • Put Bible verses up in your workspace, on your car, on your desktop, or on your stuff.
    • Put Scripture up as your Facebook or Twitter status.
    • Hand out gospel booklets that explain the plan of salvation.
    • Write out a verse of Scripture on a 3x5 note cards and give them to cashiers whenever you pay for anything. 
    • Do an Evange-letter. Take note of all of the addresses in your apartment complex or on your street. Develop a form letter that is personable and explains the gospel. Once a week, take five minutes and hand write one of these letters, pray over it, and mail it to one of your neighbors. You don't even have to know their name. All you need is their address.

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