Does what I do make a difference?

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.

Why?

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)

 

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Published in: on July 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Parable of the Sower and Seeds

I remember leaving class one day at my small community college, and seeing men in suits on the pathways, handing out little Bibles.  (This was a long time ago for me, by the way, and I’ve reconstructed as best as I remember.)  I took one as I went by, thanking the men, and then I stopped to watch how other students reacted.

Most students took the Bible and went on their way, some smiling either out of courtesy or agreement, others just taking one to make peace.  I saw one student stop, shake his head in refusal, and then go on.  And then there was one student who stuck in my mind.  He said something sarcastic like, “Thank you so much!” and then, smirking and shaking his head, he threw the Bible with a large thunk into the trashcan on his way in the building.

I later realized God had given me an opportunity to observe the truth in the parable of the farmer sewing seeds.  All of these students were being given the one Word who could unlock the gates of Hell to let them out, and yet, most of them . . . didn’t even know it.

I ache for them to know what they are missing.

He taught them many things in parables, and in His teaching He said to them:  “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, this occurred: Some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it sprang up right away, since it didn’t have deep soil. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it didn’t have a root, it withered. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce a crop.  Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop that increased 30, 60, and 100 times [what was sown].” Then He said, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!” (Mark 4:2-9, HCSB)

Then He said to them: “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones along the path where the word is sown: when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy.  But they have no root in themselves; they are short-lived. When affliction or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately stumble. Others are sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the ones sown on good ground are those who hear the word, welcome it, and produce a crop: 30, 60, and 100 times [what was sown].” (Mark 4:13-20, HCSB)

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