“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while.
For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
When witnessing, one of the main concerns a Believer seems to hold in the back of his or her mind is this: How do I bring this person to Christ?
An analogy is needed here before proceeding any further.
We are all familiar with the strange phenomenon which seems to occur when introducing one of our beloved friends to another, just as beloved, friend. We do so with the expectation or the assumption that they will hit it off. (After all, they have at least one thing in common already; you!) But then, just the opposite occurs and we find ourselves in the middle of an unspoken, but blatant, animosity.
Now, taking this a step further, we are then left wondering was it something we said or did, to provoke such an unexpected reaction.
His or her heart was not ready to share you, or receive your other friend onto their ground. It had nothing to do with you. It’s about who they are and the condition of their ground; their hearts, not yours. You misjudged their ground, mistakenly assuming they were ready. They were not ready then, and maybe never will be.
And so by now, one can definitely relate to the verses cited at the beginning of this writing in the same manner. Not everybody is ready to accept our Lord and Master when we introduce Him to other people—who we think will be ready to fall in love with Him, just as we have. As Jesus stated, the seed will fall on different types of ground; some by the wayside, some on stony places, some among thorns, and some on good ground.
The ground is there, in whatever state it’s in, which should be of no concern to us when we preach the gospel. Jesus didn’t ask us to first determine the condition of the ground (heart) before spreading the seed (the gospel). We do so knowing God takes care of its taking hold because He is the only One knowing the true condition of the ground.
Yet the evidence of the type of ground the seed falls on is determined by the fruit, or lack of, produced. We can tell who was by the wayside since he let the enemy come in and snatch what was sown in his heart. We know when it fell on stony ground for having no root in himself; he immediately stumbles when persecution or tribulation comes because of the Word.
We know when the deceitfulness of riches chokes the Word that fell among thorns, for he becomes unfruitful. These are all obvious signs, no mystery involved in deciphering these verses. Just as the seed that fell on good ground it is so obviously apparent by the fruit it produces.
In witnessing, either by pen, word, or deed, we may encounter paradoxical situations where it simply becomes a matter of accepting it for what it is; whatever it might be. For, if we work with any expectation of precise outcomes, we fall into disappointment when the ground fails to bear fruit and produce.
Christ touched people, heart by heart. And He still does…through you, and through me. We just have to make sure His message is not diluted, filtered, or contaminated in any way.
We shall always have those who seem very excited and interested in what we have to say. They seem to always appear they are ready to accept Him, yet never do. Yet, they always ask for prayer, erroneously thinking that it covers them and if they’re covered, then they’re saved. They enthusiastically receive our message, but not the object of the message; Jesus Christ. They take up our time having us believe they are almost “there,” while debating Churchianity, and other religious sounding topics.
This prevents us from moving on to other ground. Our seed was already sown maybe ten, fifteen, or fifty years ago. Sometimes we will see that it did fall on good ground, but we should be wise in also knowing where it hasn’t. There is other ground to contemplate. (Jesus did warn us that by their fruit we shall know them.) This doesn’t mean we give up praying for them, but God keeps bringing others into our lives so that our territory may expand and we can keep seeding ground.
One other thing about ground that is not good ground: People just love talking about themselves and their problems.
So, when they come across a Christian who they can go to any time of the night or day, that poor Christian has become their counselor! They will take the advice, the prayers, the suggestions, to heart, except what is most important in the equation; the step leading to salvation. Again, wisdom is called for here. Be wise and gentle as doves, applies even in such circumstances.
Does it mean we get to pick and choose our ground? No, it does not. In his letter to the Ephesians (chapter 1, verses 3-6), Paul took the time to explain something that to this day is still a bit hard for most Christians to accept; we were chosen before the foundation of the world! We were predestined to adoption as sons by Christ Jesus himself! And so, God knows who are His.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).
Whatever ground we encounter, it is not up to us to try to guess, or determine, what kind of ground the seed will fall in. We sow and the Lord reaps the Harvest, for He knows the good ground from all the others.
And JESUS IS LORD!
©Mindy Silva 2014