Saturday, 9 July 2011
The Evangelist as a Sower.
In the New Testament both Jesus and Paul use the metaphor of the sower
for the evangelist or proclaimer of the good news. From Jesus’ parable
of the sower (or ‘of the soils’) the evangelist should learn to be
develop three of the attributes found in the sower. The first
attribute we notice in the sower is that he is generous in his
sowing. He had plenty of seed and spread it widely, causing it to land
on different types of soils. We too should be generous in our
sharing of the message of grace-as Jesus encouraged us :‘freely you
have received so freely give! We should not be stingy with this
message nor seek to keep to ourselves, our family, friends or
countrymen but rather share it with all, even to those whom we
consider don't deserve it-for of course we don't deserve it! Of course
this doesn’t mean that we should ‘throw our pearls before swine’
as the Master told us, but we should still be generous and seek to
spread it where we have an opportunity to do so.
As Charles Wesley declared:
Come sinners to the gospel feast
Let every one be Jesu’s guest.
There need not one be left behind
For God has bidden all mankind.
The second attribute I see in the sower is that he is man who has faith.
He believes that the seed has power to take root, grow and
reproduce-it is what seeds do! We too should should have faith when we
sow the seed of God’s word. As Paul declared regarding the gospel: I
am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the
salvation of everyone who believes. We should not lose heart or become
weary in well doing –keep sowing, keep praying and God will give the
growth and if it lands on good soil it could produce a crop, 'some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.'
The third attribute I see in the sower is that he is patient as he
waits for the seed to grow. He does not panic despite the weather be
it rain, hail, snow or scorching sun! The evangelist likewise should take
encouragement to wait patiently when he shares the gospel. This is
also seen when God speaks in the book of Isaiah :
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
The seed will take time to develop in the ground then after its time
has been fulfilled the fruit will be seen for all to see.
Paul also emphasises that it is not the sower that gives the growth,
but God. It is not the sower that can boast or receive any glory, but
God. Our calling is not to give the growth, rather our calling is to sow generously, in faith and patiently that in due time God would give growth to the seed sown in his name.
Send me,' he cries, his sin-purged lips with altar fires aglow:
'I'll bear the living message of free forgiving love;
O let me win the wand'rers to the path that leads above.'
`Spite all the ties of nature, he leaves his friends and home,
A lonely witness o'er the world, despised and poor, to roam.
Nought takes he for his service, but freely in His name
Who sent him and supplies his need, the Gospel would proclaim.
Within his yearning bosom, love to the Savior reigns:
In all the labors of his life no other power constrains.
Deep are his tender feelings, sweet is his pleading tone,
As he described the glories of yon Man on Heaven's throne.
His heart the heavy burden of sinful souls must bear;
He wrestles for them at God's throne through hours of midnight prayer.
Eternity before him more real than Time appears:
Oh, wonder not he pleadeth with the eloquence of tears!
Anointed by God's Spirit, trained at the Master's feet,
Commissioned and sent forth by Him, all furnished and complete.
No human art or wisdom his talent could assist:
A heavenly-moulded, God-sent man is the evangelist.
He is the weeping sower who shall with singing come,
Bringing his gathered sheaves from earth to Heaven's harvest home.
And when with joy he lays them down at the Master's feet,
His own 'Well done! thou faithful one,' will make his bliss