Ready for some Bible trivia? Here’s a quick question. In Jesus’ parable of the Sower, how many kinds of seed were there? You know the story about the seed sown along the path, some in rocky ground, some among thorns, and the seed sown in good soil. Let’s see, that means the number of different kinds of seed equals…one! There was only one kind of seed, but there were actually four different kinds of soil! What that means for sharing our faith is nothing short of incredible!
We might be tempted to think there are two kinds of seed and thus two kinds of people – good and bad – and that we shouldn’t bother sharing the Gospel because the good seeds will grow anyway and the bad, well there’s nothing we can do about them. But there is only one kind of seed, which Jesus says represents the Word of God.
Okay, well then, we might then be tempted to scatter all the seed on the good soil only and forget about the bad soil as a waste of time and good seed. We might want to share the Word of God only with those who look like “good” people. But there is a third option. We can take whatever soil we have in front of us and work that soil until it is ready for seed, like a good farmer would. And it doesn’t have to be a long process.
Today I was driven into a McDonalds by the bitter cold where I found someone at a booth, bundle up in hooded coat, scarf, hat, bent over playing a video game. I couldn’t see the face and didn’t know if this person was man, woman, old, young, black, white, homeless, whatever. I took a chance and explained my question about eternity, asking for his opinion. He continued to play the video game, giving shoulder shrugs and brief, one word answers to my questions, which turned to short phrases and sentences after a long several minutes. He let me know he was atheist, and didn’t really care to talk about it or look into it, yet he started to look up, got more talkative, put away the video game, looked up and engaged fully in the conversation after at least ten minutes. He had been like rocky soil, but with a little work I was starting to see some hope. He turned out to be Jay, an Asian man in his 20’s.
We talked over a half hour as I answered many of his questions. Jay changed from claiming atheism to being an agnostic, to considering the claims of Christ. Toward the end he actually said “You may have planted a little seed in me, but don’t think it’s going to grow over night. You can’t expect me to become a Christian in just one conversation!” I assured him I didn’t, that I was happy just to plant a seed of God’s word. It took some work, but I believe it was planted in good soil and I trust that others can help water it and pray that God may make it grow.