Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scripture
Matt. 13.18 – Hear then the parable of the sower. Mark 4.14 – The sower sows the word.
Another very familiar Gospel paradigm is that contained in Jesus’ parable of the sower. It might be worth a short re-visit.
Briefly, He sets a scene of early agriculture. A time when planting and harvesting – especially in the Middle-east was not as sophisticated as today. In fact, that is one of the things which makes this view so hopeful. It isn’t the “science” of evangelism that makes it successful, though we ought to study to do things well. It is the life of the seed – what is sown – that is the vital key. The Word of God, the Gospel, sown into the hearts of men is what brings us a harvest. And that is exciting. For some would make all our success dependent upon technique and skill.
Don’t get me wrong, where we can examine our efforts and improve, we should. There is no virtue in remaining primitive when there is true progress around us. Jesus didn’t have a sound system then – but there is no reason to believe he would not use one now.
Back to our parable.
Farming in Jesus’ day reversed something we take for granted. Seed was scattered first, THEN the soil was plowed up. Nor was it done in nice neat rows. It wasn’t until the 1700’s when Jethro Tull invented the seed drill that uniform seed depth and coverage were widely used.
In Jesus’ day, the sower sowing was the farmer scattering handfuls of seed on a plot of ground – somewhat randomly, and then plowing the field to turn the ground over on top of the seed.
Observe then that such an approach was not necessarily based upon efficiency. I fear we are all too worried about that today. We’re so afraid we’ll plant too deeply, or not deeply enough, or too far apart or too close together or, or, or – that we don’t scatter the seed at all! Its like, unless we can plant that one perfect seed – we just won’t do it. And beloved, it ought then be no surprise we have so little to harvest.
There is plenty of seed. We can’t “waste” it, unless we just plain fail to scatter it. It IS wasted if it remains with us. But never when it is cast abroad.
Observe too that though some of it falls in areas not given to generate crops – this itself is of little concern. The concern is in getting the seed out there. We won’t always know the soil – the heart condition – of those we sow into. But in general, the field is the world (Matt. 13.38). We just need to get it out there. There IS soil prepared. There are hearts waiting. God in His sovereign providence has made it so. We are to sow with the confidence that if we will be faithful in spreading the Gospel – He will be faithful to bring a harvest out of it.
Observe lastly that it is true that some of what we sow will have no, or perhaps just temporary results. That is not to distract us from the reality that God still intends a harvest to be had. Or he would never send us out into the field at all.
There is no such thing as an accidental harvest.
“Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16.15) Get to the entire field. Sow. Sow! Scatter My seed. Tell My Gospel far and wide. I have a harvest to raise up. I will send rain. I will give the sunshine. I will germinate it and cause it to grow. As for you – Go!
Now that’s a paradigm for Gospel evangelism!