It’s something I’ve been pondering for several months now. Does what I do make a difference?
Lately I’ve really been struggling to write. I’ve been fighting a big bout of discouragement. It seems that I can strive to be a popular writer, a cool writer, or a powerful writer, but the question lingers still: Does what I do make a difference?
It seems like, so much of the time, what I write is possibly read (or skimmed), possibly encouraging, possibly thought-provoking–and then it’s time for the reader to check email . . or get a second cup of coffee . . or go to that work meeting. Does what I do make a difference?
How can I write in a way that causes people to want to give their lives to Christ? How do I write in a way that evokes a life change that’s real and radical in my Christian friends? How do I write in a way that such a change happens within myself?
Does what I do make a difference?
I’ve felt stumped with writer’s block . . tired . . unmotivated . . and just like the busywork of life is more demanding and more promising.
God forgive me.
I’ve been so blind.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about such a problem a farmer has. He works hard throwing out all of this seed by hand, but so much of it is unsuccessful. So much of it yields no crop. What with birds and thorns and rocks, most of the seed is a huge disappointment. That’s the way it’s going to be in this life.
Most people who read this (if people do actually read this), are going to think, “Hmm, interesting,” or “Well, that was boring,” or “Huh”, or “You don’t say” . . and that will be the end of it. They won’t change their lives. But I should have realized that would happen.
Many people who read the Bible have the same reaction. My writing is dust, but the Bible is God’s eternal Word. And yet many people, when they read it, carelessly let the truth slip between their fingers. They have no reaction to catch it, but rather simply to observe it (or argue against it).
But let’s make it more personal. How many times do Christians–do I myself–read God’s Word and I don’t even begin to let it steep before I’m off to the busywork of life? It’s like percolating coffee in the morning, going to the trouble of pouring it in a cup, and then leaving it on the counter and never touching it again.
God warns us in the parable of the sower that much of our work in this life will seem fruitless. Much of the time, when we try to bring people to Christ, or bring Christians to a deeper understanding of Him, in the eyes of the world we totally and utterly fail. Nothing grows.
Yet we still sprinkle seeds everywhere.
Surely it must be love.
Surely the farmer throws seed on rocky soil, thorny soil, and on the path not because he is incompetent, but because he chooses to give all the soil a chance. Surely he allows himself to experience the disappointment of a failed crop again and again, simply to give every possible piece of land the chance to thrive and grow.
The wise and perfect Farmer, Jesus Christ, knows just what kind of soil we are in our hearts. And He still throws out the seed to all. We, on the other hand, have no true idea what kind of soil is in the heart of another, yet we are reluctant or even unwilling to scatter seeds if the outcome looks unpredictable to us or the chance of success is unlikely.
We are called to scatter seed–not to grow it. We can do no such thing as growing. Only God can do that.
But we can act like our Master in Heaven, Jesus Christ, when we give everyone the opportunity to hear God’s Word and respond. What they do with it is a choice God has left up to them. Their choice, however, has no bearing on our responsibility to first get the Word to them.
I love the way the movie Courageous ends. To paraphrase in a way befitting this blog, some may read this and not care. Some may read this and agree, and they’ll forget what they read as soon as the next interruption comes.
But a few may read this and seek Christ. And even if it’s just the possibility of one, that’s a chance I’m willing to take.
I’m ready to scatter seed again.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed . .” (Luke 8:5a, NIV)