By Joshua Franks
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Bruceton
I’ve always wanted to be a gardener. I have a romantic notion in my mind about the fresh air, the feeling of accomplishment, and enjoying vegetables with my family as we sit around the dinner table. Maybe it’s a silly idea. It doesn’t really matter because God didn’t gift me with a green thumb. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve killed a few fake plants in the past.
I’m so dumbfounded by horticulture that I don’t even know why I can’t grow things. It looks easy. I’ve seen other people do it. I’ve tried multiple times. It just didn’t work for me, so I gave up.
I think evangelism is like that. It seems simple enough. Most people have tried it. Some people seem to be good at it. Unfortunately, the majority of believers become discouraged when they don’t see results and stop trying.
However, that’s not really a choice we get to make. Jesus didn’t give us The Great Option. He gave us The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). We are commanded to share the gospel. That’s our one job. It’s our divine mandate. It can’t go undone. Therefore, we must go.
But how do we go about Kingdom work without becoming discouraged? Well, that’s the point in the parable of the soils in Mark 4:1-9. In it we see the different kinds of responses we’ll receive as we share the gospel. Jesus tells us that anytime we go about our great commission work, the gospel seed that we sow will fall into one of six different kinds of soil. There are three types of bad soil (vv. 4:4-7) and there are three types of good soil (v. 8).
Now, please notice this parable isn’t about the sower. We’re not told that the sower did anything different in each type of soil. All the sower did was sow. Also notice that the only thing we know about the seed is that it is the Word of God. It’s not unique seed to each soil.
Those two facets in this parable represent believers and the call on our lives. Jesus calls believers to share the gospel message wherever and whenever. The person is unimportant. The method is unimportant. And the message is always the same.
The important thing in this parable is that God knows the condition of each soil and He is the one who produces growth (I Corinthians 3:7). The sower can’t induce a flower to bloom or a plant to bring forth vegetables. The sower simply has a job to do and, as He goes about His work, God generates the harvest.
This fact should take a tremendous burden off of believers. It’s easy to get discouraged when we don’t see the results we think we should. We feel like failures. We feel like we’ve done something wrong. But there is tremendous freedom afforded to us here. When we are not responsible for the results all of the stress, anxiety, and discouragement that goes along with evangelism fade away.
So I say stay in your lane. Do your job and let God do the rest. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see the results you think you should. And understand that if you don’t give up then there will come a day when you will sit around the dinner table and enjoy the fruits of your labor with your heavenly family.