I feel like I’ve been let into some kind of top secret… it’s not at all complicated or indeed fancy, but non-the-less this secret has just blown me away. Here it goes, when you plant a seed it grows. I have been munching on ‘Rocket’ (the herb type leaves not the space type craft) and am just blown away as to how it shoots up and grows.
It seems as if my little back garden has become a jungle of tomato plants and courgette, pumpkin, and herbs galore… just because I planted some seeds, watered them and watched them grow.
Yeah, i know it’s super cheese now, but that really is the same as the gospel. I keep forgetting that I don’t need to do anything actually other than ‘sow it’ by telling and showing what Jesus is all about and what he has done… and then that news will grow like some kind of super seed!
In my book I write about planting seeds and waiting for a Harvest. I have just re-read it and it has blown me away as to the simplicity (yes of my writing but also the truth!) Plant seed and we will see a harvest! Here is a section from my book:
George Hunter III says,
For centuries the Church was harvesting grain in fields already ploughed, seeded and watered. But today we must first plough, seed and water the fields before we can reasonably expect to gather harvests.[i]
Imagine a farmer tootling in her tractor, ploughing a field as she prepares it for sowing seeds of wheat, but never actually sowing the grains. She’ll be absolutely gutted when her ploughed field doesn’t produce any wheat! We’d think she were an idiot. But in the same way, Christians over the years have been disappointed time and time again that people within their community do not come to faith and become part of the Church. They’re idiots! In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he says that, ‘The gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you, since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace’ (Colossians 1:6). There are a number of clues in that verse about the gospel being like little seeds. The seeds are planted when is the gospel is heard and understood. How many people around us have heard the gospel? I mean really heard it, not just seen some kind of cheesy poster outside a Church somewhere. Of those who have heard it, how many have understood it? I think we have a lot to do in the UK, as the simple truth is that the seed of the gospel needs to be sown if we are to reap a harvest.
People can’t believe in something they don’t have a clue about. But people’s lives are changed through encountering the gospel message. Paul said it’s the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16); or to quote Andy Hawthorne, ‘The gospel ain’t broke!’
I despair when I see the counterfeit seed of the gospel sown bearing forged fruit, through cults going door to door or on the streets. People respond to the message of the cults in part because they are given enough information to make a decision about whether to believe it or not. Yet how many people in the UK can actually make a decision about following Christ through information they have received? The Church in the UK lacks awareness, and sowing of the gospel has not been nearly widespread enough. I think I should write it once more to let it sink in:
Seed must be sown if we are to see a harvest in the UK.
If, like me, you want to see people becoming Christians left, right and centre, then join me in the toil of purposeful seed-sowing. Paul declares another amazing truth in that Colossians verse (1:6) that I mentioned earlier that should enable you to be even more effective in your evangelism: the good news about Jesus is likened to a seed that will grow when planted within someone’s life. Seed grows; it cannot help but grow. So plant some seeds and watch them grow.
The first letter to the Corinthian Church reveals that their extraordinary faith happened because a bloke called Paul planted some seeds, another guy called Apollos watered them, and God gave the increase. Too often we look to God to give increase when we haven’t even planted anything, let alone watered it! When we don’t get results after asking God for increase and fruitfulness for our church groups, frustration and disillusionment sets in. Some Christians I meet have concluded, after years of asking God for people to join their Church, that God wants their Church to be small. As if! God desires that all people come to know him, but the seed of the gospel must be sown first. If I plant seeds in a community where there are not many Christians, my expectation is that people will become Christians. This isn’t magic, it’s the simplicity of the gospel; if you sow it, it will grow!
[i] Hunter III, G.G. (1992) How To Reach Secular People, USA: Abingdon Press, p. 36. Used by permission.