Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Planting Seeds

This month at Hope, John has been talking about Jesus' parables and how they still apply to us today. One of the parables that he mentioned came from Luke 8:4-15, the parable of the sower and the soil. The basic takeaway is that when we share Christ (plant seeds), the effectiveness will depend on how ready the person is to receive it (good soil, rocky soil, thorny soil). In my experience, it's always worthwhile to plant seeds whenever possible. Only God truly knows if someone is ready to hear the good news.

This became even clearer to me this week when Anne received a phone call from some friends that we had in Tampa. We got to know them because our daughters were in the same class in school. Through the couple of years that we knew them, the conversation would sometimes turn to what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ. During the phone call she told Anne that her entire family was baptized this past weekend, and thanked Anne for "planting seeds." It reminded me of a lunch appointment that I had with her husband just a little over a year ago. After my lunch I sent an email to some friends (this was pre-blog). I thought I would re-post that email here.

"Today I was having lunch with a friend who is at the beginning of his spiritual journey. As I was sharing some of my life experiences with him I mentioned a time in my life when God led me in a certain direction. He immediately stopped me and asked, "How did you know it was God?!" I really appreciated the question, and I had to stop for a moment to figure out how I was going to explain that concept. Through that conversation I was reminded about what a privilege it it is to have a relationship with a God who is not distant, but is present with me and hears me when I pray. I told my friend that over the years my relationship with Christ has grown and I have learned to distinguish between an idea that I have in my mind, and something that God is leading me to do. It's difficult to put into words, but I explained that it's similar to relationships we have with other people. For example, my wife knows me so well, that there are times she knows exactly what I'm going to say before I even say it. Over the years she has learned my quirks and my tendencies and she can generally predict what my reaction will be. In the same way, as I have studied the bible, prayed and walked with God daily, I have come to know more of who He is, and what He would say about the situations that come my way. Jesus said in John 10:14-15,27 (NIV) 'I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father Knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep.' 'My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.' I believe that as you pray and ask God for direction in your life, He will answer you. This week, ask Him to help you to hear His voice above all of the other distractions that come your way."

I'm glad to know that some of the seeds that I planted in his life during that lunch began to grow. Hearing about his family getting baptized makes me excited! I can't wait to hear what else God has in store.


Sam Mahlstadt said...

Wow, what a blessing to see seeds that have been planted take root. That was very encouraging as I have been planting seeds in many friends' lives, and am believing for some good soil!

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