Sow the Seeds Where You Are
By: Carla G. Pollard
Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary credited with opening China to the gospel, said of his labors, “I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” Hudson Taylor worked for many years before the people of the Orient were open to hearing about Jesus. Some say he was a special man who accomplished a special work. He spread the seed of God’s word to any who would listen. He trusted God to cause the seed to spring up in each hearer’s heart.
When I heard Hudson Taylor’s story, I thought, “I could never be a missionary.” I was so sure God would call me to another country where I would have to learn a new language and deal with some difficult situations and hardships. But I soon learned the call to His missionary work is not left to a few chosen men and women. Jesus calls us all.
Before Jesus ascended back to heaven, He said,
“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15(KJV).
His call to action may never lead you to some faraway land. Your mission field may be within the four walls of your home. Or on your job. Or in the supermarket. Or to the couple next door. Our commission is to tell our sons and daughters, husbands, co-workers and neighbors all the great things Christ has done for us.
We have been given the amazing task of sharing the Good News that Jesus, God’s own son, died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day so that we could be forgiven and receive newness of life. Hurting, lonely, and sin-sick people all around us need to hear God’s message of hope. We have been blessed with the great task of spreading the seed of God’s word. We don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to fulfill our calling to the mission field. All we need to do is sow the seed right where we are.
It may not be comfortable to be a seed-bearer. Psalm 126:6 shows us that seed-bearing may cause tears,
“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed …”
But it carries the promise of an abundant harvest,
“… shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:6 (KJV)
“… Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, they are white already to harvest.” John 4:35 (KJV)
No travel required. Just eyes to see the open doors, ears to the hear the Great Commission, and a heart to answer his call. Will you accept your call today and look for someone to share his message of redemption with? “Lift up your eyes”, Jesus said, and welcome to your mission field.
Streams IN The Desert
By: L.B. Cowman
And he went out carrying his own cross (John 19:17).
There is a poem called “The Changed Cross.” It represents a weary one who thought that her cross was surely heavier than those of others whom she saw about her, and she wished that she might choose an other instead of her own. She slept, and in her dream she was led to a place where many crosses lay, crosses of different shapes and sizes. There was a little one most beauteous to behold, set in jewels and gold. “Ah, this I can wear with comfort,” she said. So she took it up, but her weak form shook beneath it. The jewels and the gold were beautiful, but they were far too heavy for her.
Next she saw a lovely cross with fair flowers entwined around its sculptured form. Surely that was the one for her. She lifted it, but beneath the flowers were piercing thorns which tore her flesh.
At last, as she went on, she came to a plain cross, without jewels, without carvings, with only a few words of love inscribed upon it. This she took up and it proved the best of all, the easiest to be borne. And as she looked upon it, bathed in the radiance that fell from Heaven, she recognized her own old cross. She had found it again, and it was the best of all and lightest for her.
God knows best what cross we need to bear. We do not know how heavy other people’s crosses are. We envy someone who is rich; his is a golden cross set with jewels, but we do not know how heavy it is. Here is another whose life seems very lovely. She bears a cross twined with flowers. If we could try all the other crosses that we think lighter than our own, we would at last find that not one of them suited us so well as our own.
–Glimpses through Life’s Windows
If thou, impatient, dost let slip thy cross,
Thou wilt not find it in this world again;
Nor in another: here and here alone
Is given thee to suffer for God’s sake.
In other worlds we may more perfectly
Love Him and serve Him, praise Him,
Grow nearer and nearer to Him with delight.
But then we shall not any more
Be called to suffer, which is our appointment here.
Canst thou not suffer, then, one hour or two?
If He should call thee from thy cross today,
Saying: “It is finished-that hard cross of thine
From which thou prayest for deliverance,
“Thinkest thou not some passion of regret
Would overcome thee? Thou would’st say,
“So soon? Let me go back and suffer yet awhile
More patiently. I have not yet praised God.”
Whensoe’er it comes, that summons that we look for,
It will seem soon, too soon. Let us take heed in time
That God may now be glorified in us.
–Ugo Bassi’s Sermon in a Hospital
The Parable of the Sower
“And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: a sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” — Luke 8:4-8
In Our country, when a sower goes forth to his ork, he generally enters into an enclosed field, and scatters the seed from his basket along every ridge and furrow; but in the East, the corn-growing country, hard by a small town, is usually an open area. It is divided into different properties, but there are no visible divisions, except the ancient landmarks, or perhaps ridges of stones. Through these open lands there are footpaths, the most frequented being called the highways. You must not imagine these highways to be like our macadamized roads; they are merely paths, trodden tolerably hard. Here and there you notice bye-ways, along which travelers who wish to avoid the public road may journey with a little more safety when the main road is infested with robbers: hasty travelers also strike out short cuts for themselves, and so open fresh tracks for others. When the sower goes forth to sow he finds a plot of round scratched over with the primitive Eastern plough; he aims at scattering his seed there most plentifully; but a path runs through the center of his field, and unless he is willing to leave a broad headland, he must throw a handful upon it. Yonder, a rock crops out in the midst of the ploughed land, and the seed falls on its shallow soil. Here is a corner full of the roots of nettles and thistles, and he flings a little here; the corn and the nettles come up together, and the thorns being the stronger soon choke the seed, so that it brings forth no fruit unto perfection. The recollection that the Bible was written in the East, and that its metaphors and allusions must be explained to us by Eastern travelers, will often help us to understand a passage far better than if we think of English customs.
The preacher of the gospel is like the sower. He does not make his seed; it is given him by his divine Master. No man could create the smallest grain that ever grew upon the earth, much less the celestial seed of eternal life. The minister goes to his Master in secret, and asks him to teach him his gospel, and thus he fills his basket with the good seed of the kingdom. He then goes forth in his Master’s name and scatters precious truth. If he knew where the best soil was to be found, perhaps he might limit himself to that which had been prepared by the plough of conviction; but not knowing men’s hearts, it is his business to preach the gospel to every creature — to throw a handful on the hardened heart, and another on the mind which is overgrown with the cares and pleasures of the world. He has to leave the seed in the care of the Lord who gave it to him, for he is not responsible for the harvest, he is only accountable for the care and industry with which he does his work. If no single ear should ever make glad the reaper, the sower will be rewarded by His Master if he had planted the right seed with careful hand. If it were not for this fact with what despairing agony should we utter the cry of Esaias, “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” Our duty is not measured by the character of our hearers, but by the command of our God. We are bound to preach the gospel, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear. It is ours to sow beside all waters. Let men’s hearts be what they may the minister must preach the gospel to them; he must sow the seed on the rock as well as in the furrow, on the highway as well as in the ploughed field. I shall now address myself to the four classes of hearers mentioned in our Lord’s parable. We have, first of all, those who are represented by the way-side, those who are “hearers only”; then those represented by the stony-ground; these are transiently impressed, but the word produces no lasting fruit; then, those among thorns, on whom a good impression is produced, but the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the pleasures of the world choke the seed; and lastly, that small class — God be pleased to multiply it exceedingly — that small class of good-ground hearers, in whom the Word brings forth abundant fruit.