Living the Christian life has never been easy. In the beginning belief in Jesus was a death sentence. Over the centuries many faithful have faced persecution. Thankfully for us we don’t have such problems, at least not in the States. But one of the challenges we do have in being Christians in our modern world is making sure that we are the ones influencing the world and not making the mistake of allowing the world influence us.
The Parable of the Sower is a perfect example of this. Jesus says:
“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed feel on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” Matthew 13:1-9
Jesus Doesn’t Care about Your Metrics
Looking at this from the perspective of our modern world it’s easy to say that the approach of this sower is obviously wasteful, inefficient, ineffective. After all, he should’ve focused all his efforts on the rich soil and not even waste his time or his seeds on the others where there was little or no possibility of growth. But we have to remember to look at the world through Jesus’ eyes. He doesn’t care about return on investment and nothing is a waste to Him.
In fact, I think it’s safe to say that Jesus prefers to take the risk of reaching those who might not be rich soil, because there is always hope that even one seed might bear fruit.
Think about the people in your life who you impact on a daily basis at home, at work, at school. Your friends, your family, your spouse, your children, even strangers on the street or at the grocery store. You cannot know who is going to benefit from your lived example of faith in Christ. You cannot know who will take your advice or words of encouragement and actually put them into practice. You cannot know who will accept your invitation to a new life in Christ. And that’s not what you should be worried about anyway.
When you’re walking with Jesus one of the most important things to remember is that the results are not in your hands. “The sower went out to sow.” That’s his job, to sow seeds. He isn’t preparing the soil. He isn’t monitoring meteorological patterns to see when and where the next rainstorm will come. He is out day after day sowing seeds. And he leaves the rest to God.
Don’t Discriminate, Do Your Job
As Christians, this is the perfect example of what it means to evangelize. There is no discrimination on behalf of the evangelizer. Every day, in every place, and in every thing you do, you should be sowing seeds: proclaiming the Good News by your life, showing people the love of God, inviting people into relationship with Jesus. Many will reject it. The majority will not even notice it. But some will be hooked and God will continue to work in their hearts. You might not even ever notice or realize that they were impacted by you, but that doesn’t matter.
Our focus has to be on sowing seeds. It’s a fact that many seeds will be lost. Many will sprout, but wither away. And some will grow into trees, but never bear fruit. We have to accept that. And that can be difficult. We are not in control here. This is God’s territory.
The other danger is to lead a double life, to be one person at Church and another at home. But again, that means you’re trying to sow seeds only where you believe the soil to be rich and neglecting the rest. The danger here lies in the fact that you can’t know which soil is rich and which is not. You cannot judge people’s hearts, only God can. Trying to determine where to focus your efforts at evangelization based on who you think will be most receptive, is a horrible idea. You aren’t able to see below the surface. Someone who might seem like a poor candidate in your eyes, might have extensive roots which have grown over the years. And maybe all that person needed was one word and in order to blossom.
The challenge that Jesus makes to us in this beloved parable is to be sowers, to sow seeds, and to leave the rest up to Him. But that requires relinquishing control and trusting in Him. So, what do you think? Are you up for the challenge?