Good seed, Bad Soil
In the parable of the four soils (Matthew 13:1-23), a farmer plants good seed that face various outcomes, depending on where they land. Jesus then relates each growing pattern to what happens when people hear the good news of the gospel: Seeds that fall on the path are snatched away by the evil one. Seeds that fall on the rocky soil don’t develop roots, so they are short lived when trouble comes. Seeds that fall among thorns are unfruitful, due to the worries and materialism. Seeds that fall on good soil - with hearing and understanding - yield an abundant crop. Statistics about the number decline in Christianity have been disturbing to say the least. As I seek to address this alarming trend, we (ministers) should continually be evaluating our ministry’s effectiveness, adjusting an d recalibrating as necessary. But its also wise to remember that falloff has always been a part of the Christian faith -even during Jesus’ ministry.
The gospel seeds you chuck sometimes land on good soil that produces a 30, 60, or even 100 fold yield. These are the folks who come to believe in Jesus, develop a relationship with him and share his message with their peers in word and deed. We love to see this happen in our church, and in the life of other churches as disciples make other disciples. But some seeds we sow land elsewhere. The pathway: People who hear the message and just don’t get it. For them, we continue presenting God’s Word clearly as possible, free from the “Christianeses” and legalistic add-ons. The Rocky Soil: The folks that hear the message, but their faith doesn’t take root. For these people, we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help grow them deep in beliefs. The Weedy Soil: Folks that receive the seed of the gospel, but then get distracted by the world. We must challenge them to go “All in” to serve Jesus not out of guilt, but because of his grace. What do we do with all these different types of soil? We invest in the seeds that are growing, pray for all the others and make sure we’ve done everything in our power to remove barriers to their spiritual growth. Take it from the Master Farmer Jesus himself who promises to help us in all our sowing.