Planting Seeds, Growing Salvation :: By Nathele Graham

“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11).

Today I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. Not tears of sorrow or pain, but tears of joy. My two youngest grandchildren have given their lives to Jesus and have made the public statement of being baptized. My heart is filled with joy. As I think about their decision, I also ponder the chain of events that led to this moment. When my husband was a little boy, he was a handful. He had a loving nature, but he also was angry and belligerent. He had an aunt who cared enough about him to take him to Sunday school and tried to teach him about Jesus.

Fast forward many years. When I met Ron, he was a wonderful man who was divorced and had two children. I fell in love with Ron and his two children. The only problem was that Ron thought he was a Christian, but he didn’t know Jesus! He thought he was a Christian because he was born in the United States. In spite of that, we were soon married; and after a couple of years, we had a child of our own. Three wonderful kids, and I love each one deeply. Ron and I had a very good marriage, but I hadn’t been walking with the Lord like I should have. Eventually I felt the need to get back to a better place in my Christian walk. Ron said he wouldn’t stand in my way and would even attend a worship service with me once in a while.

Long story short, within a month the Holy Spirit got ahold of Ron, and there was no turning back. He fell in love with Jesus and gave his life to Him. Ron spent every possible minute studying his Bible. The seeds that Aunt Lois planted thirty years earlier had finally taken root and grew. When Ron accepted Christ, his whole attitude changed. It wasn’t a contrived change, but one that was real and from the Holy Spirit working in him. Ron understood what Christ had done for Him on the cross, which instilled in him a strong desire to share the Gospel with everyone around him. This led him to begin planting seeds in others, beginning with his family.

Because Ron was not ashamed of Christ, all three of his children have accepted the Lord for salvation; and now all of his grandchildren have made that all-important profession of faith. They are all baptized out of obedience and as public evidence of their choice. The seeds planted in Ron’s life so many years ago are a legacy given by Aunt Lois, and have passed from one generation to the next.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). 

The mother of my two young grandchildren heard the Gospel from her father, Ron, who heard it from Aunt Lois. This blessing will continue to be passed on to generations to come. Even though Aunt Lois was the first strong influence in Ron’s life, the fact is, faith didn’t begin with her. Someone who had heard the Gospel from someone else had shared the Gospel with her.

The legacy of faith came through many centuries, beginning with those first disciples who were brave enough to proclaim the Gospel in spite of persecution – Peter, James, John, Andrew, Thomas, Philip, and the others who were chosen by Jesus to follow Him and learn. Those men faced persecution and death, but nothing could stop them from proclaiming the Good News of salvation to people who were dead in sin. They walked with Jesus as He traveled through Galilee, Gadara, Jerusalem, and other places. They saw His miracles and heard His words. When Jesus conquered death and arose from the grave, they were the ones whom He told to spread the Gospel to the unsaved world.

It was Thomas who had doubts about the resurrection. He hadn’t been there when Jesus entered the locked room and spoke with the disciples who were hiding in fear and confusion. Thomas wouldn’t believe Christ had risen from the grave unless he saw the nail prints and the wounded side. Yes, he was the first doubting Thomas. A week later he had his chance. Jesus appeared again, and this time Thomas had no doubts. When he saw Jesus, he believed in the resurrection.

“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

Jesus knew that Thomas had doubted, but also knew he would be faithful to spread the Gospel. “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Because they began planting the seeds of faith, others believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. People like Barnabas, Titus, Timothy, and Paul gave their lives to Christ, and continued to share God’s truth throughout their lives.

You can be a part of this long legacy of faith. Are you a Christian? Then simply share your faith. Say a few words to a friend about Jesus. Don’t feel that you have to be the one who gives a powerful message and brings many people to salvation. God may call you to do that, but more likely He will just ask you to plant a seed or water one that someone else planted.

Scripture tells us of the evangelism of Paul. He spoke to many people who rejected his message of the Gospel, but he never stopped evangelizing. How many seeds did he plant? Some of those people who heard him speak may have thought about the message, then heard someone else speak the same Gospel message, and the seeds planted by Paul may have taken root.

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-6).

No matter what any person does, it’s God who truly makes the seeds grow. “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

An added benefit to the joy of sharing the Gospel is the fact that God will reward your effort. “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” (1 Corinthians 3:8).

Yes, sharing the Gospel is works, and we aren’t saved by works. What we do in the name of Jesus should come from the love and gratitude we have for His sacrifice. Scripture makes it clear that there are rewards in Heaven for the works we do on Earth.

It may seem as if there’s plenty of time to start doing your part to plant, water, or reap. The truth is, you cannot begin too soon to work for the Lord. The fields of the world are aching to be planted with the seed of God’s word. You may be the one to plant a seed by inviting someone to attend a Bible study with you, or by sharing the Gospel with a friend who is searching for truth. That seed may take many years to germinate when someone else comes along and waters the seed you planted. Whatever part you play in bringing someone to salvation, you are working together with many others who are also doing their part. More importantly, we are all working with God.

Jesus said, “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:36-38).

The important point is that you do your part. It took over 30 years for the seeds Aunt Lois planted in my husband to take root and grow. What if she had just waited for someone else to make Jesus known to him? Aunt Lois went to be with the Lord many years ago, but the rewards she earned are still adding up. Ron came to know Jesus and passed his faith on to his children, who have passed their faith on to their children. I know that the next generation will be grounded in faith.

Every one of us comes in contact with people every day, and we have the opportunity to plant seeds, water what was planted, or reap the harvest of a soul who finally comes to salvation through Jesus Christ.

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake” (Psalm 115:1).

Don’t wait; share your faith while there’s still time. Whether you plant the seed or water it, do whatever God asks of you. All glory goes to Him.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

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All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.

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