One of the things that has been on my mind a lot lately is the parable of the sower. In Mark 4, Jesus talks about a farmer going out and planting seeds. Some of the seeds lands in various places, some of it on the road, some of it in shallow soil, some of among weeds, some of it in good soil.
The seeds that end up on the road, in shallow soil, or among weeds all eventually die or never really get the chance to grow at all while the seeds that fall in the good soil will produce a harvest of as much as a hundred times what was planted.
If you have been reading along lately, I have been heavily involved with student and children’s ministries for the last 8 months. I’ve never felt more in touch with what God made me to do. I just love it.
But I don’t get to plant seeds. In most cases, the parents of these kids have been planting seeds, watering them, and encouraging them to grow for years now.
I also probably won’t be there for the harvest. The last go round I had with student ministry was when I was in late High School / Early College, and now six years later I’m really only in regular contact with 1 of the 12 or so kids I really invested in. If that same thing holds true, if I’m really lucky, in 6-10 years maybe I will get to be around for the harvest of just one of these guys. I know many of them will move away, walk away and just generally lose touch. That’s really sad and depressing to think about now, but it just gives me all the more motivation to do what I am doing now well.
So that’s where I am. I am in the middle, not really planting seeds, but not harvesting them either. I’m just trying to be a good steward and not trample any of these seeds, and hoping the water and fertilizer I’m using eventually helps these guys to grow into the awesome men that God designed them to be.
Despite that, I have never felt more awe, more excitement, more faith, and more wonder at what God is doing in the world. I just have to step back and ask, I wonder if this is what the apostles felt like when God was “adding to their numbers daily”. When God showed up and made this his work in the world. When he said, “This is what I’m doing, just try to stop me.”
I don’t really know why I get to be involved in what God is doing in the world. I’m a socially awkward introvert that has never really particularly liked social events. Why me? And the answer was not that God picked the most qualified, smartest, most amazing guy. God just asked, “Who will go?” and I was crazy enough to say, “Send me, I’ll do it.”
Terry Storch recently said something that really resonated with me, “We can do more with less if it’s less of us and more of God.” That has been my story. Last night I wrote about God showing up and using our weaknesses to show his strength, and that is where I have been. I’ve had so much success in my weakest areas lately, because I’ve just tried to live with the idea, less of me, more of You, God!
This week I made a list of every student I felt that God wanted me to pray over. I came up with a list of 13 names, and when I look at these guys, I see Jesus’ hand on them as if it was real. Just as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians: “It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special.”
So I have been praying for these thirteen 6th, 7th and 8th graders. I wasn’t there when their seeds were planted, and I may never get to see their harvest, but like Moses, I have a vision of the promised land. I know where this is headed, and though I may never get the opportunity to see the harvest, I’m holding on to bold faith that it will be enormous, and far bigger than anything we could ever think, ask or imagine.
I may never get to live the conclusion, though selfishly, I really want to, and I didn’t get there first, so I didn’t get to plant any seeds. But I am standing here, being a good steward of the 5 minutes I have, and working hard to water these seeds as best as I can, praying that God would honor it and take it and make it more than we could ever conceive.
I have bold faith. I boldly believe that every frosty, every fart joke, every life experience and moment invested will one day pay off a hundred times. It’s totally worth it.