Ever since I moved to Melbourne my life has been filled with a series of ‘God appointments’. For example, someone I noticed on the street in the CBD (I really liked her skirt) ended up attending the same professional development event and after chatting for a bit found out that we live on the same street. Another time while I was on the tram, the tram police were out (these guys are no joke), and I saw a girl who got caught for not having a valid fare just sobbing while they were writing her a $220 ticket. I felt to speak to her as we were waiting for the tram but I didn’t know how to go about it so I just prayed that if what I was sensing was correct that I would be able to sit beside her. I kid you not on this packed tram, with people standing all around there was an empty seat beside her. I was able to chat with her and bless her. It was SO good! Another time, I was puppy sitting and met a man walking his dog in a park. We had small talk for like a minute while the dogs did their thing and went our separate ways. About 30 minutes later I was back at the apartment, coming out of the lift, I turn the corner down the hall and he’s right there!
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Things like this happen so often to me it’s ridiculous. Depending on the situation, I’ll get a nudge from the Holy Spirit as to what to do. Sometimes it’s to ask questions, listen, show kindness or share my testimony which leads into sharing the Gospel. I was reading through Matthew 13 not too long ago and Jesus was speaking about the parable of the sower.
And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
I’ve read this passage a lot of times. The seed represents the Word of God and the different scenarios represent people. The more I meet people who come from all walks of life the more insight this passage has. I never really noticed the section on the seeds that fell on the path. When you imagine a path, it’s defined and worn because it’s been walked over many, many times. The ground becomes so hard that there can be no growth because the soil is so hard. Any seeds that were dropped wouldn’t grow because the soil first needs to be ploughed. The scripture also says the seeds that fell on the path were ‘devoured’. What was attempted to be planted stood no chance against the hard soil and those who wanted the seed (the enemy) didn’t waste any time to get rid of it.
This really stuck me when it comes to how people (myself included) approach sharing the gospel. Depending what people have experienced in life hearts can be hard to receive truth and love. Life is hard. Death happens, relationships end, people disappoint you, let you down, and hurt you. If people don’t truly heal from that, callouses will develop and walls are built around the heart making it hard for anything to penetrate.
I think that the way to break through that is through kindness, compassion and love especially when people don’t deserve it. Our culture says you give to get. You do as much as someone would do for you. Oh how that flies in the face of what Jesus modelled and what he asked us to do and it’s a love and kindness that is undeserved, unmerited, no strings attached that will penetrate and soften the hearts of people to hear the gospel and have it take root on good soil.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Through that, and only through that, people are in a position not only to hear about Jesus and truly understand the sacrifice He made so we can be reconciled to God. For real, while we were still sinners he still loved us?!?! His kindness leaves me speechless.
So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
I think we’re one of three steps with every person who crosses our path:
- Plough– Sometimes all that is required of us in that moment is to love someone. No strings attached. And that will look different depending on the situation and show people God’s love (true love)doesn’t require anything in return.
- Sow– We may have the opportunity to share the Gospel with people and plant the seeds of salvation in their hearts.
- Water– Other times we get to build on top of what someone else has sown and continue to share truth that will hopefully lead people to completely give their life to Christ.
It’s a privilege to be a part of any stage and play a role in building God’s kingdom here on earth.
I used to think that every single person I met I would approach the same way when it came to sharing the gospel. Just tell them about Jesus and I can go ahead a tick the evangelize box. However, there can’t be blanket way to approach people. We’ve been created uniquely in God’s image and believe he honours that in how he seeks after us. And he does it in such a way that when we look back at our life in hindsight we can see all the moments that were weaved together to Now I just have to learn to get out of His way and following his leading. Why do I sometimes think the Holy Spirit needs help??! LOL!
Just some of my recent thoughts…