I had a frustrating encounter with somebody that seemed to want help, but then shut me down. What is my responsibility as a believer and more mature member of the Body of Christ when I see another brother or sister struggling? Are we not the “hands and feet” of Jesus? What is that exhortation in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 all about if people turn our offer to comfort and lend a helping hand to those who suffer? I would like to address our responsibility (hint: we have no responsibility) with a different look at The Parable of the Sower than you may be familiar with, and state a rule that can be seen within it – you are not God.
The Parable of the Sower
And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they do not have root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterword, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundred.” (Matthew 4:13-20)
There are three simple points we need to make at this point from the Parable of the Sower as it applies to the principles behind The Plow. The first point is God is the Sower. This means that we are not the sower, though we do our part in sowing as a steward of His field. God does the work and gets all the glory. We will only fail as disciples if we do things our way or in our strength. We cannot take rejection as an indication of our heart or effectiveness for the kingdom. We only proclaim the message of our Savior, a message of hope, grace, and mercy. Let God be God. We have received a commission to make disciples and to teach obedience to the Word, but He is the power and authority behind those tasks.
Jesus in His parable illustrates the point that there are different kinds of soil conditions and fruit is only produced in one type of soil. The ground which is plowed by God is the soil that produces fruit for the Kingdom – referred to here as the good soil. We will address fruitfulness in more detail in later blogs, but we must understand plowed ground is good soil. As disciples we need to allow the Holy Spirit to plow in our hearts to be productive in the work for the Kingdom. In order to be fruitful in making disciples and teaching obedience to the Word we must follow and embrace The Plow. Good soil becomes good soil because of The Plow. We are not God, so do not try to push or direct The Plow. Let Him be in control – always.
The Western Church, from the point of view of this observer, is like the seed that was sown among the thorns. “The deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” In our commercial-driven saturated society we are told to focus on material things and what money can buy. Money, we are told, can solve any problem and the Church has bought into this lie. Revolutionaries are not concerned with the world’s wealth and material possessions because they are focused on the Kingdom making disciples and teaching the Word of Christ. Good ground plowed by God produces fruit for the Kingdom.