In my recent readings in the Old Testament, one thing has continued to draw my attention. The ongoing failure of the Israelites to underestimate God. Over and over they underestimated His commitment to them. They underestimated His commitment to holiness. They underestimated His sovereignty. I think that you and I also underestimate God and overestimate ourselves. God seeks us out, redeems us, and cleanses us. He pours out His love and gives us gifts and abilities and the faith necessary for us to use these gifts. What do we do with all that God has given us? Let's listen to two passages that can help us take a fresh look at our next step. The first, the words of Jesus, and the second, from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear." (Matt. 13:3-9)
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. (Eccl. 11:6)
These two passages point us toward faithfulness in using what God puts into our hands. In the first passage, Jesus tells of a farmer who went out to sow his seed, equipped with seed for planting. Interestingly, he planted it indiscriminately. Instead of looking for soil that would most likely bear a good crop; he scattered it everywhere. As you know, it didn't do equally well everywhere; some bore very little fruit or no fruit at all and some produced a prodigious amount. The sower probably expected that some soils would produce better than others, and yet he planted it everywhere. In the second passage, the writer encourages us to be active and faithful, rather than selective, with our planting. Why? Because you and I, as the Scripture says, “do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well." These two passages are not designed to teach us effective farming methods—they are designed to teach us faithfulness in sharing the Good News of Jesus. We are called to take what God has given us to everyone, not just the most likely candidates for church membership. We do the sowing. God takes care of the rest.
How about you? Has God given you something that He wants you to plant into the lives of people around you? What are you doing with your seed? Are you a sower...or a soil analyst?