You’ve got the seed, so sling it! You never know what God will do with it, but you can pretty well determine the outcome if there is no seed sown. Let me share with you a very personal story which more than made my day yesterday. It involves a guy who I spent considerable time with but who moved from the area a few years ago.
Let’s begin with a word from Jesus in Mark 4:26+, explaining what our mysterious “kingdom life” can be about. “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it because the harvest has come.” What we see here is the seed, the gospel , at work through the relentless, nourishing ministry of the Holy Spirit. Our part and God’s part.
A few years back I met Jack (not real name) who reluctantly had been dragged to church by his wife who attended off and on. Jack was a piece of work. Long pony tail. Forearms full of “ink” depicting what was important to him. Jack could be called a “biker dude.” Rough and gruff. Heavy salt on the language. But a straight shooter. You knew where Jack was at.
I decided to try something and asked Jack to meet me for coffee. Surprisingly, he agreed so we broke the ice by talking a little about life and personal history. Our lives were dissimilar, to say the least! I took a gamble and asked Jack if he would consider spending a few early morning hours a week for several months as I wanted his personal “take” as a non-believer on a gospel curriculum I was considering using with people who were far from God like him.
We spent several months working through the material. I really respected that Jack was always prepared and gave honest, forthright answers to our discussion questions. I wasn’t trying to “sell” Jack on Jesus, and Jack wasn’t buying into “God stuff” since it was a faith trip and he “had to see it to believe it.”We started by meeting in a coffee shop, but later Jack invited me to come to his kitchen table to “do the stuff.” Our discussions were very frank and ground level and I respected Jack for his preparation and candor. After several months, we completed our “test run” together and soon after Jack moved to another state. We touched base by text a few times. Two years ago he texted “I was just thinking about you and wanted to reach out . . . miss our coffee.” While I thought of him and prayed for him from time to time, I didn’t expect to be much on his mind.
I missed our connection too but it was sometimes tense, sensing his resistance to steps of trust and faith. Some mornings were hard going. But Jack was honest about where he stood and I respected that. I received a surprise phone call last night from Jack. His speech was halting, sounding nervous/ emotional. I thought things may have gone South with his wife or job. Instead, Jack said he and his wife decided to go to a church Sunday. His initiative. What? They argued about where to try. She went to bed and he had a hard time sleeping. He got up Sunday and she slept in, but Jack decided to go anyway. Amazing! His voice broke often as he shared that “everything in that d*** message seemed to be aimed right at me.” He didn’t know what was happening but he asked God to forgive him and to start leading him in his life. (There were a few other salty words in there but I’ll spare you those. That is just Jack) Jack wanted me to be the first to know his faith declaration. Imagine how great a thrill that was!
“Night and day, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” The work of the Spirit on the heels of the seed, the gospel, must not be underestimated. Just ask Jack and for now, at least, pardon the language. Think About It.