Friday, March 7, 2014
“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the Word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit…”
In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) Jesus makes it clear that it is not the sower, or even the seed, that causes the Gospel to take root and grow. The focus in the Parable is not on the message (seed) or the method in which it is delivered (sower), but rather on the condition of the soil. In other words, it is the heart of the hearer that makes the difference.
How does the heart of one who is far from God become fertile ground for the Gospel? How is it prepared? Who fertilizes, waters, weeds, and tills the hard, rocky, barren heart? There is only One who can do this work – the Holy Spirit of God. This is where prayer and evangelism collide.
In the Parable, Jesus describes several different kinds of people. He describes those who come to Christ for the wrong reasons. They come for success or material possessions or happiness; but at the first sign of trouble they disappear. He mentions those with hearts so hard that they never even consider the Gospel. Others eagerly accept the truth of the Gospel, but it never takes root and truly changes them. There are also people who hear the Word of God, say they believe it, but allow the worries of the world to choke it out so they never bear fruit.
Finally, Jesus describes the person who hears the Word, understands it, and bears fruit. What distinguishes such a person from the other four types that Jesus described? It’s only one thing…not education, intelligence, social status or personality. It’s not good works, ethnicity or family line. The only thing that makes this person ready to understand and accept the Word of God is the condition of his heart.
So how do hearts become ready? We must pray them that way. As sowers of the Gospel, we must cry out to God to go before us and prepare the ground we trod. Does that guarantee that everyone who hears will believe? No. But it does mean that some will. Perhaps the reason that so many Christians experience so little of Christ’s power for salvation is a lack of prayer. We must believe that we can trust God with the hearts of those we long to reach. He loves them more than we do; and He desires to save all people.
What hearts do you want Him to prepare for the seeds you are sowing? Bring them to Him in prayer and stand amazed at what He will do.
Father, Give me greater faith as I cry out to You on behalf of the lost sinners You have placed in my path. Help me to pray and sow, pray and sow, pray and sow.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.