January 22, 2014.
“Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother,
In the morning bright and fair?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother,
In the heat of the noonday’s glare?”
Last night, Craig gave a good lesson– a hard lesson– at devo encouraging us to spread the gospel, as this is our job as Christians. I say it was a hard lesson not because there is any controversy over whether or not we should spread the gospel, but because if we honestly look back in our lives– back to last month, back to last week, back to yesterday even– most of us will come to the realization that we are simply not doing our jobs.
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.”
Jesus was not one to worry about what people thought of the truth. That is not to say that he went around looking to offend people; the offense came as simply a by product of hearing the truth. He is talking to his disciples here in John’s account about a very practical subject- reaping and sowing. These disciples would have had a lot of farming knowledge in this day as agriculture was, I would say, much more prevalent in their society than maybe it is in ours. They knew when the sowing season was and when the harvest came. But Jesus came to them with a different message- the harvest wasn’t a long way off; the fields were ready right then. The fields are ready now. We are called to be in active service of sowing and reaping, knowing that it is God that is causing the growth. God wants us to join in his rejoicing.
“For the harvest time is coming on,
And the reapers’ work will soon be done;
Will your sheaves be many? Will you garner any
For the gathering at the harvest home?”
I believe an important lessons to pull from this is to notice who the enemy is. Often, at least as it is in my case, we view people as the enemy. This person is not teaching correctly, this person believes in no god, this person worships the sun god. We need to realize that these people are not the enemy; on the contrary, these people are in the harvest! The ones without our Lord and Savior need him just as much as us. Our enemy is the devil. It is true that he will use human vessels to carry out his plans, but that does not necessarily make these vessels the enemy. We are at war with the devil and his servants, and one way to win battles is to reach his vessels.
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”
As you may know, Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, book in the bible. What you may not know, however, is that this is one of my favorite verses from it. When I was younger, and still to some degree today, this is how I lived my life. I would do many things different to reach one goal on the thought that some of them may fail. I applied for all kinds of graduate schools, even some that I don’t necessarily want to go to, “just in case.” Apart from our physical desires, however, I believe this is a good concept to apply to the spiritual warfare that we are involved in (which is why I think it is interesting that this is another passage that uses the illustration of farming). When we are fighting the good fight, we need to make every effort to come at it from different angles, for we do not know which will prospers, or if they will both prosper. When we are spreading the gospel, we should mix it up- do different things. Maybe we start a blog… but then go out and give a lesson at a devo. Or we then have a deep discussion with a close friend. Or we then write some verses on the sidewalk in chalk to possibly get someone to think. Or maybe we even dare bring our bible out to a public place and sit and courageously read it to ourselves, possibly opening up a door to a talk to an outspoken, random stranger. The point is, I think King Solomon, as wise as he was, had a good point. Try different things, get the results you want.
So, are you sowing the seed? Are we spreading the gospel? If so, maybe you would like to share some practical ways of doing it so that those of us with somewhat less experience might gain valuable knowledge. This is not a job only for the preacher, or elders or those “super Christians.” This is a job for each and every one of us. We have good news. Let’s share it.
Suggested Daily Reading: Isaiah 43, 52, Matthew 28, Acts 2
“How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of him who brings good news!”