By Ronald Graham
“Behold, a sower went forth to sow;” Matthew 13:3b. Farmers are by definition seed scatterers, and they usually have stacks and stacks of gunny sacks practically bursting at the seams with seeds just before planting season, all stored up nice and secure in their big old barns. Here’s a “what if” scenario. What if farmers choose to keep their seeds in their barns instead of planting their fields? I’ve seen fields in my area where I can only assume some adverse situation happened to a family and the fields didn’t get cultivated or planted; the fields just turned into big weed patches. But a farmer who purposely neglects his field to hold onto his seed is not only unwise, but deliberately neglectful. His fields would remain barren. Come harvest time what would he have? Seeds. That’s it; all he would have is a barn full of seeds.
You and I read and study our Bibles, and some even do so faithfully every day. As we study God’s word we grow in our knowledge of Him and His word and over time we acquire a wealth of understanding. But what good is all that knowledge if we keep it stored up in our personal little barns? Just like the farmer, we too store up, but in our case it’s knowledge. When our storage shelves are full of this extremely important information, which determines the difference between eternal life in Heaven or Hell, we should freely spread that knowledge around to all with an appetite to learn.
Once we’ve stored up all that knowledge it’s time to ready ourselves for getting it to the masses. What kind of believer would we be if we just kept all that knowledge to ourselves? We would be like the farmer who refused to plant his seeds, deliberately neglectful and very foolish. You see, the knowledge we’ve received from studying God’s word doesn’t actually belong to us, at least not to us alone. We can obtain a mass of knowledge through studying His word but we must remember it’s His word and it was meant to be shared. Simply put, God’s word is public domain.
Until the farmer sows his seeds into the ground he can’t hope to reap any kind of bountiful harvest. Once he sows the seeds they begin to grow and the foliage of the plants begins to spread across his entire field. Of course the farmer isn’t finished when he sows those seeds, not by any means. That’s only the beginning. He waters and cultivates his plants and applies pest and weed deterrent which results in healthy crops. He cares for the plants while they grow and they thrive through his diligence of care giving. When his field is ready he can harvest the crop and reap the fruits of his labors and enjoy the rewards of such diligence.
Believers are not so very different than farmers. We also spread seeds; it’s just that our seeds are the word of God. As we learn more and more through our careful study of His word we are then able to “water and cultivate” those seeds. The folks we teach are then empowered by God to sow what they’ve learned and as they grow in knowledge and discernment they pass that knowledge on to others. At first as people pick up biblical knowledge they pass it on slowly, almost timidly. In time, and as their study habits get more involved and become a pleasure not a chore, they are empowered to seed larger fields and do so with clarity and frequency.
What we’ve learned of God and His will for our lives is a benefit that we can pass on to others, and like the farmer who plows and seeds his fields and benefits from the result we to benefit from our due diligence. People profit from the farmers efforts by taking advantage of the end result. Likewise, many people can benefit through our seed spreading efforts by absorbing the truth of God’s word. And really, studying the word of God is all about knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, storing up seeds for planting, and then proceeding with planting them. God’s word was always meant to be shared and distributed. Many use it to argue with other believers or to prove to others how smart they are. This should never be our motivation in spreading God’s word.
There’s something I’ve neglected to mention thus far. I’m not sure everyone understands that there are rewards that will be distributed at the end of our Christ-centered travels. When we are through here on earth God will remove us from the world and there will be a point after that removal when we will stand before the Bema Seat of Christ and He will reward us with crowns that are specifically created for each type of work we did for His Kingdom.
One of those crowns will be rewarded for our many efforts of advancing His Kingdom here on earth. Similarly, little work will result in few crowns. If we will travel about unabashedly standing up for Jesus and spreading the good news of His Gospel, and teaching others the truth of His word, then of course, our rewards will be great. “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” John 4:36. There’s an old adage that goes something like this “You can’t take it with you”. But on the other side of that phrase is “You can send it up ahead”. That’s what we are doing by teaching and preaching and everything else we do for Gods Kingdom while we reside in these bodies on this planet.
It should be understood that basically all believers are ministers and teachers. We will all be confronted sooner or later with a question about the Bible and if we answer that question “correctly” we’ve then taught that person something from God’s word. All Bible teachers are responsible for teaching God’s word correctly. What that means is we aren’t to substitute our own ideas and precepts for the truth of God’s word. That’s why studying God’s word is an ongoing process. We may never fully grasp it all but we should strive to be correct in all the interpretation we pass on to others. We believers, as teachers must understand there will be severe consequences for passing along bad seed. In other words if we’ve changed our Master’s seed, mixed it up with some bad seeds, and then sowed it in place of the whole truth we must be prepared for the consequences of our erroneous actions. There will be a high cost to pay by those who teach a false Gospel.
It’s a given that Satan hates all people, but especially he hates those believers who are out there spreading the seeds of truth, preaching and teaching God’s word to those who are still lost. The lost belong to Satan and he hates giving up even one soul to God. Satan will do anything to keep the seed that we believers sow from ever taking root. He’s subtle in his chicanery. His road blocks are not immediately observed. Some people have very hard hearts and as such they thoroughly reject the word of God, but others may have very willing hearts that accept the word of God quite easily. But then those hearts may be so fertile that they accept every teaching out there as truth. These last folks are just as deceived as the previous because they just can’t discern between the truth of God and the lies of Satan.
Clearly there are challenges to spreading the Gospel, but if it were impossible God would never have told us to do so. Sometimes the ground just needs some extra tilling and fertilization mixed in to reactivate all the nutrients in the soil. “For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem , Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” Jeremiah 4:3. Some hearts are like thorny ground and the thorns need to be removed first. It might take a little work on our part and it might even be painful.
“The religion that is born of mere excitement will die when the excitement is over” Charles Spurgeon. People are all different and there are many approaches to reaching the lost. Now and then, as we meet and get acquainted with new friends or neighbors there may be a small time lapse between meeting them and getting to a point where we actually feel the Holy Spirit leading us to speak to them about Jesus. Through our study of the Bible we will become much more in tune with God’s Holy Spirit. He will guide us to see the perfect time for witnessing. Even just our daily living routines can be a witness and proof as to Whom we follow.
The knowledge we possess after we’ve made learning God’s word a priority in our lives is always to be shared. It’s as though a light comes on the more we study. It’s too bright of a light to merely place under a basket somewhere. Instead we should be spreading that light around. Jesus tells us that we believers are the light of the world. But if no one can see your light what good is it? Those who are going astray because of the darkness must be shown the light of Christ. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
God’s word is very powerful. If we don’t take His word seriously or if we try to water His word down to keep from offending someone, then we’ve done exactly what the enemy would have us do. If he can’t get us to abandon God’s word altogether, then perhaps he can get us to see that in some instances it will offend, and so we should be more feeling and caring and keep the whole truth from being brought out. If we were to follow the evil ones suggestions, sooner or later, the whole word of God would become of non-effect.
This concept of watered down seed spreading is especially prevalent across America. “What do you mean Ron?” Well, what would happen to the farmer’s crops if he sowed his seeds sparingly? He would have a pretty sparse looking field which would be rather unhealthy because of all the weeds that would take over. Many men have gone to great lengths to study God’s word only to concentrate their preaching and teaching on a small section of scriptures instead of teaching the full council of God, which is contrary to God’s own word. “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” Isaiah 28:9-10.
God is very frank when it comes to training up His children. Many believe that to be so blunt can be hurtful. They’ve perceived the Bible to be outdated and in need of an overhaul. They are sure that God never meant to chide those individuals who live a lifestyle that’s completely contrary to His word; it just cannot be what God intended. They put their own precepts over God’s. They may change His word, or instead of teaching the whole council of God they ignore many parts as irrelevant, even though those scriptures might mean the difference between life and death.
Here’s an example, you’re watching a family out enjoying a Saturday picnic together, joyfully singing songs and dancing and playing on the grass and it gives you a warm feeling inside to witness such love. But you realize they’ve set up their picnic table on a train track and they are completely unaware of any approaching train, but you know that a train will be coming down that track at precisely 12:00 noon. It’s now 11:55 and the family is sitting down at the picnic table as they begin to enjoy their meal together. Are you helping them by keeping silent about their approaching doom? Or have you just condemned them all to death by keeping silent?
Sowing and feeding the flock are parables Jesus used as He taught the disciples about His Kingdom. It’s interesting that Jesus never once told His disciples that seeding those fields would be a bed of roses. He never told them to avoid painful subject matter if they perceived it might make someone uncomfortable. Plainly we see quite the opposite when it comes to sharing the Gospel of Christ. Difficulties arise as we go about spreading God’s word and sometimes we’re confronted with uncomfortable situations that might make even our loved ones turn away from us, but nothing should deter us from getting those fields sown.
Cultivating, seeding, watering, harvesting–Jesus tells us that the rewards for such diligence done for the purpose of increasing the flock for His Kingdom will bring awesome rewards. Have you prepared your fields? And if so, have you scattered His seeds?
God bless you all,
All scripture is from the KJV