“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.” Jesus, Mark 4:26-27
Our pastor recently conducted an evangelism workshop at our church. During the workshop, the men at my table had been working on our evangelism exercise, trying to present the gospel (God-Man-Christ-Response) in less than two minutes, and were finding the exercise difficult. I heard myself going through the presentation with my voice, but in my head having my doubts. Although one of my friends described it as “technically correct,” no one at our table felt that it was either convincing or persuasive. We just felt that we were declaring huge truths to people in rapid fire and expecting the impossible, that they would believe these truths about God and man and sin and salvation, and then to have some kind of saving response. But this seemed very unlikely.
How does this work, then? How is it that a brief proclamation about how Jesus Christ has died for sin so that sinners who trust Him for salvation can be delivered from the wrath of God and thus have eternal life; how can that message ever get traction?
As I was pondering these things, I remembered three times in my own past when people had spoken to me about Jesus.
My first recollection is of me on a bench in downtown Asheville. I was probably eleven years old (~1970) and I was waiting for my mom to pick me up after a doctor’s appointment. A man probably in his mid-twenties approached me and sat down on the bench with me and proceeded to tell me about his journey. He was strung out on drugs and was running from the law and his life was a mess, and then he met Jesus Christ. He asked Jesus into his heart and Jesus had changed him. “Don’t you want Jesus in your heart?” What was I going to say? “Sure (if you will promise to leave).” So, we prayed “the prayer” and I was saved. Then Mom came and picked me up and I forgot all about that. Or so I thought. A seed had been planted.
Fast forward to about 1986. My girlfriend had taken me to the local Baptist church, where during the service an executive at Proctor & Gamble had talked about how he came to faith in Jesus. “So, if anyone is interested in talking to me more about how Jesus can change your life, please get in touch with me.” His story impacted me, so I contacted him. We met for breakfast at a restaurant in Roswell, GA. He did his best to tell me about Jesus and about how I could know Him as my Savior. The seed had been watered.
In 1988, I was on a date with another girl I had taken a fancy to. We were on a patio of a restaurant in north Atlanta and she brought up that she was a Christian. She told me that she believed in Jesus Christ and that Jesus had forgiven her of her sins. I think I may have asked a question or two about her faith, but that was about it. But the seed had been watered again.
Isn’t it interesting that, of all the experiences that I have had in the last fifty years, I remember these three times when random people talked to me about Jesus? The point is that the gospel makes an impact. It is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).” So, God used these obedient people to plant and water the seed of the gospel in my life.
Then, when the Lord was ready to bring me to Himself, after an experience on a big cliff and visits to a church, in late 1990 I repented of my sin and believed in Jesus as my Savior. How did that happen? “It is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.”
So, what do we do? We sow the gospel seed far and wide, “in season and out of season.” We proclaim the gospel to unbelievers as often as the Lord will give us opportunity, trusting that the power is in the message of the cross and not in the cleverness of the speaker. “God is well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21).”
SDG rmb 10/23/2020