I recently attended the Best Practices in Ministry conference at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, in Columbus, IN. One of the breakout sessions was led by Lou Jander, a retired teacher and church leader. He and his wife Martha have a ministry called Sow the Word. Their mission is to give a booklet of the entire Gospel of John to as many people as they can.
In their travels, they have given the Gospel of John to waiters, bus drivers, store clerks, gas station attendants, whomever they meet along their way.
Lou talked about the fact that he and his wife serve simply as sowers of the seed, as in the parable of the sower. When you look closely at that parable, Jander said, you see that the sower simply sowed the seed with the expectation that not all the seeds would “take.” Some would fall on rocky, thorny or dry soil and not take root. That was just part of the reality of “broadcast” farming in those days. But what seeds did take root would produce greatly, the parable says, “yielding thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:8).
The Janders have seen many of the seeds they planted take root through letters and messages they have received sometimes years later from those who came to faith in Christ through the Gospel of John booklets given to them by the Janders.
But many times the seeds of the Gospel of John booklets did not take root. Jander said the parable of the sower helps us to remember that it was not the farmer’s job to successfully plant every single seed. We hope for that, but we cannot make people believe. We simply need to broadcast the seed and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
The parable reminds us to keep sowing the seed of God’s Word no matter what. After all, nothing can grow at all if there is not first a seed.