The Power Of Sown Seed
By Carlton L. Coon, Sr.
Recently archeologists found a 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy. They were amazed to find several seeds of wheat held tightly by the mummy. The mummified body had withered, but the seeds were intact, held tightly in the ancient hand.
If just one of those seeds had been planted in fertile soil and allowed to go through the normal cycles of growth and reproduction for twenty years, that one seed would have been able to produce the equivalent of the annual wheat harvest of the entire world. Instead, the seed lay inert for 4,000 years. Secure in the mummified hand but not accomplishing what the seed was intended to do-to reproduce after its kind.
Unrealized potential is a tragic indictment: the legacy of “what might have been.” The power of a seed is only realized by being sown. A farmer is helpless to grow grain; God gives the increase, but by investing the kernel into the soil, the farmer is positioning it for natural forces to take over. Repeatedly, Jesus was adamant about the seed and the environment in which it would reproduce. The field is the world.
Hindrances To Seed-Sowing
Solomon’s wisdom gives some answers.
* Laziness Or Discomfort – “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.” (Proverbs 20:4)
* Fear Of Risk – “The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.” (Proverbs 22:13)
The bottom line – seed is not sown. Jesus was clear; the seed was never intended to be preserved in a tomb but to be invested into the field – the world.
The outcome is uncertain; it is God who gives the increase. It is a certainty that you cannot reap a heart that has not been seeded. A spirit of prophecy is not necessary for the next common-sense observation, “One hundred percent of the farmers who do not sow seed will not gather a harvest.” Likewise, one hundred percent of those churches who do not sow in their community will not reap a harvest.
What Shall We Sow?
What’s the seed? Interestingly the gospel writers give two answers:
* The seed is the children of the kingdom (Matthew 13:38)
* The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11)
Both Luke and Matthew denote the field as the world. So Jesus taught two things should be happening: the field of the world should be sown with the seed of children of the kingdom and with the seed of the word of God.
Children Of The Kingdom
Children of the kingdom seed the field by simply being what they are-children of the kingdom. On jobs and in classrooms, children of the kingdom are sown into the field. The children of the kingdom have a different perspective; they are counter-cultural. This world is not their home. In the field but different. And that is not only okay, it’s good. Children of the kingdom, not expressing condemnation or being intimidated for being a bit different, but simply being a kernel of Christ-likeness.
Brethren, validate the uniqueness of the children of the kingdom by reminding them that a life of Godliness, separation, mercy, graciousness, kindness, love and hope impacts the field of the world. Children of the kingdom are not intended to be in the barn, but seed sown into a field. A cold cultural climate of the lion of fear must not stop the children of the kingdom from being sown into the field.
The Word Of God
In contrast to Matthew, Luke said the seed is the word of God. Simon sowed the seed of the word of God into an audience of thousands on the day of Pentecost. In an early example of cross-cultural evangelism, Philip sowed the seed of the word into one Ethiopian tourist. Throughout the book of Acts, every-instance of sowing-the seed of the word of God was through-a positive presentation of the gospel.
The two seeds come together when a child of the kingdom teaches a Home Bible Study. The seed of the children of the kingdom is being sown at the same time the seed of the word is sown. This works… it is proven.
Ask Canton, Ohio’s Christmas for Christ Missionary Joe Ellis who was compelled by a Home Missions Training Seminar over twenty-five years ago to teach Home Bible Studies as a key to planting the church. Ask Larry Clark, a good layman in Alexandria, Louisiana, who had never won a soul until he was in his thirties, and then only when he started teaching Home Bible Studies.
Teaching a Home Bible Study is not a church growth method. It is the Biblical principle for impact. It is sowing a child of the kingdom and the word of God into a field.
Plant With Hope
Seed may germinate many years after being planted. In Springfield, Missouri, Larry Bagley taught his co-worker Steve eight years before Steve entered the church building for the first time. Life changed for Steve, and when it did the seed of the word was in place to work.
R. B. Jone’s book, Rent Heavens illustrates what happens:
A few years ago a warm current called El Nina… swept southward along the west coast of South America in greater volume than ever before. It brought with it torrential showers, which visited parts of South America which had not known rain since the year 1551. El Nina turned thousands of miles of desert into paradise in an incredibly short time, as it caused millions of hardy seeds which had lain dormant in the ground through decades of drought to sprout and grow with incredible vigor.
Showers of rain alone do not turn a desert into a paradise. Rain must fall if there is to be a harvest. The operation of the rain of the spirit is in God’s good hands. You see, the hearts of the lost need to be well sown with the children of the kingdom and the word of God in preparation for the outpouring of the rain of the Spirit.
Making It Work
Train people regarding the impact of their life. They are seed. As children of the kingdom, their behavior should be exemplary. Ask them, “If your conduct were to be repeated in every person you come in contact with, what kind of world would this be?” Behavior is never done in a vacuum. Children of the kingdom are different from the world that envelops them.
Train your people about Lifestyle Evangelism. People must be equipped. How long since you took a few weeks to talk about connecting with people or teaching Home Bible Studies? When we were home a few months, it was good to hear the pastor announce Monday night training sessions on effective evangelism.
Experiment with different Bible Study options – Exploring God’s Word is a twelve-lesson series that takes the student through the Bible. Into His Marvelous Light is a one-session study that several Home Missionaries in North Carolina have used to good effect. Into His Marvelous Light is often used as a first point of connection. This is simple and easy to teach. What the Bible Says… was my own effort at a Home Bible Study. For some who struggle with covering the entire Bible, this seven-lesson topical series may be of interest. All of these are available through Home Missions Division Sales at HomeMissionsDivision.com.
Home Bible Study Workshops can benefit a section, district, or local congregation. Pastor Marrell Cornwell from Wichita, Kansas; Larry Clark from Alexandria, Louisiana; or Michael Schmalz from Appleton, Wisconsin, do excellent HBS workshops. These will motivate and equip the saints. As a follow-up to such equipping sessions, keep a record of the number of Home Bible Studies being taught, as does Pastor John Grant in Madison, Wisconsin. Your strategy should also include talking about the HBS’s being taught. On a regular basis honor those who are teaching. Never forget, “What gets honored gets repeated.”
Raise the profile of the Home Bible Study effort. Mention the Home Bible Study during church. Say something like, “One of the services our church provides to the community is having trained people who teach the Bible. If you are visiting with us today, we want you to know there are people in this church who would love to come teach you a Home Bible Study at absolutely no cost. If you are interested in a Bible Study, come meet the leader of our Home Bible Study team just to my right after church.” Have your Home Bible Study leader stand while you make that offer.
Two final words of wisdom deserve to be included…
* Robert Louis Stevenson advised, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant,” and Bob Russell wrote, “Be careful that you don’t get so busy pulling weeds that you forget to plant seeds.”
* What have you sown today? Have you pulled weeds to the exclusion of sowing seed?
This article “The Power Of Sown Seed” written by Carlton L. Coon, Sr. is excerpted from Director’s Communique the 2007 July/August edition.