Planting seeds

Our church’s youth pastor recently received a letter that would gladden the heart of any Christian minister.

A former student in his youth group told him that she recently felt a desire to read the scriptures. So she dug out a Bible from her basement and began reading the book of Romans for a couple of hours. That eventually led to her becoming a believer in Jesus.

Now, she reads the Bible daily and knows what it is like to “thirst for God’s word”. And she is recalling what she learned in youth group.

“It was a great e-mail to receive and you never know what seeds are being planted,” the youth pastor said.

Indeed.

Coincidentally, I was reading yesterday Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed in Luke 8. In it, Jesus talks about a farmer scattering seed. Some of it fell on good ground but a lot of it landed on rock or the path or thorn-infested ground. Only the seed that fell on good ground thrived and grew.

Jesus told his followers that the seed is the word of God and the soil is really the condition of the heart and mind of the person receiving God’s message. Sometimes the word strikes a chord in someone’s heart but is choked off by life’s competing demands. Only those who receive the word and persevere will bear fruit.

Once again, I am reminded that I need to scatter the seed constantly if God is going to produce fruit in those I meet who don’t know Jesus.

But also this story tells me that God is preparing hearts to receive the seed – God’s word. I don’t always know who will be receptive.

I am a timid introvert. I don’t want to offend people. But every once in a long while, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and scattered some seed.

In a couple of cases, I shared books which played a role in relatives becoming believers. In another instance, a friend was on the edge of becoming a believer because his family and others had shared Jesus with him. He simply prayed a prayer with me and believed.

On the other hand, a neighbour friend has heard the message of Jesus at a community-run Alpha course and yet won’t let the seed take root in his heart and flourish. I do not despair. Others may help him into God’s kingdom.

The issue with me is not the seed or God the gardener. It’s me. I need to get out and sow.

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