“And the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope.” Romans 15:4
Jesus’ first parable in Mark is the Parable of the Sowers, do you remember it? It’s where Jesus says that a farmer is sowing his seed across the land. Some of the seed fell along the path, some fell on rocky places, some in the thorns and some on good soil and the only place where the seed grew at all was in the good soil. Jesus teaches here that the seed is the Word of God. The simple truth that we can deduce form this passage is that we need to plant seeds in good soil, but there is something else here as well that might not be staring you right in the face so easily. Let’s take a look; as a farmer, working his land is how he makes a living and generally speaking, it’s not the easiest or richest job but nevertheless he is going to plant his crop each year. It’s inevitable and that is the point, the seeds will get sewn somewhere! Likewise, the Word of God will go out and be proclaimed, the difference of how fruitful the product will be, is by the preparedness of the soil.
Some of us have spent every morning getting up and reading our Bible, which don’t get me wrong as this is an awesome thing, but we are reading the Word without already having our heart prepared. We have not prepared the soil. Likewise, we are taking the seed and planting it on rocks or on the path where it will easily get trampled on and destroyed. Without having the soil already prepared, the seed will not take. The seed will not flourish into the plant it was designed for. We read the Bible and just walk off; that’s like throwing the seed out into your driveway and we wonder why crops are not growing. We wonder, ‘why God are you not growing in me?’ ‘Why am I not growing in desire for Jesus?’ ‘Why do I continually hold onto the sins of my past and balance back and for between the good and bad, because I feel sick the way I teeter back and forth?’
Maybe the most Christian thing we can do right now and this week is to not read another book, either in the Bible or a top Christian writer today, but rather to sit down and assess the soil of our hearts with God. To sit down and sift through the soil until the debris is gone, sift through and pull out the weeds and rocks which choke out the Seed. Those things can be resentment because you haven’t arrived at the place you wanted to be. It could be fear because you’re not sure if God is going to come through for you. You have to plow those things up and set it out so that He can address the soil. That’s what David did in Psalm 142, he begins by pouring out his complaints and simply gets honest with God. He gives unrestricted access of his soil to God and does not stop there, David gains a focused mind. He begins to speak truth and preaches the Word of God to the place in which he needs it the most, to the soil.
The seed will go out, but is your soil ready?
Although it should not be, one of the most difficult thing for Christians to do at times is to witness to non-believer co-workers or friends whether they are an atheist or simply not sure what they believe. Maybe it is because of our professional work environment or because we do not want to make things “awkward.” Why is that? We, as Christians, have experience the grace and mercy of our risen God that should bring us so much joy that we are unappalled to express to our friends that same undeserved love! But there is at times a road block that stops us from bridging that gap. So these are just a few tips as well as my story at work.
Throughout college I was graced with a well-paid position working with Audio-Video for a local school district with a large multi-purpose facility that held football games, concerts, theatrical performance, conferences etc. This position, I would soon come to find out was something more than just making money on the side to help keep me afloat during college, this was a place for ministry. It did not come quickly or easily as I worked my tail off at this place when I was there not only because I wanted the hours again but because I loved doing it. I loved how nothing was the same and there were always new things to strategize for in means of executing events and I was always around clients and co-workers. So as a Christian, one thing you have to keep in mind is that everything you do is a witness. It’s an excellent way to witness by itself by being excellent at our jobs. So over the three years I had worked there during college, I had made a name for myself as someone who was easy to work with and who was competent to get the job done quickly and correctly. In fact, to God be the glory, there were several full-time positions come up along the way and I was told many times that I should apply because they loved me working there. I don’t say that to boost my ego but to say that in order for us to reach our co-workers, we have to do our jobs well as that gives us a platform for them to respect what we have to say. As Colossians 3:23 proclaims, “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” If we are sharing the Gospel with them and we have not first put in the effort for them to trust or respect us, then more than likely the seed will fall on unprepared soil.
Now that your foundation is set, before you talk to anyone about Christ, you need to talk to Christ about them. It does not have to be anything big or fancy, but there should be a prayer simply asking Him to be in your conversation. I believe in the power of prayer, that it is strong and mighty and that if we ask God to be in our sharing of the Gospel, then He will be. In fact, what is the point of sharing God if we do not ask Him to be present in the conversation so that the Spirit can work through us?
Now that the foundation was set and I had prayed, co-workers of mine started coming to me asking questions and testing my beliefs. It was something at the time I was not personally prepared for but by the strength of God, I was ready. Honestly, up until this point, I was not looking to have theological conversations with them, I myself wanted to keep it a professional environment with no conflicts but God had prepared my way ahead of me so that these doors could be opened and the conversations to be held. For a while, I was even known as the “worship leader” as I was at church where I served every week. This bothered me at first but it led to even more great conversations as I was able to sit down with one of my managers on a slow day and just talk about Christ with him. It was interesting to see how many actually had some sort of faith or curiosity but had held it in. I do not see how we are supposed to spend 8 hours of our day together and not grow and have personal conversations, I believe that in order to have a good team of co-workers we would need to be intimate and trustful of those around us.
These doors are things that when I first started working here, would not have been possible to open had I not made a foundation for myself to work off and also had I not cultivated relationships with these people, I would have just been another co-worker. The key to sharing Christ is by being Christ to them first and loving. Be bold where you work and do it to the glory of God, so that you may have a platform to share the Gospel effectively one day and build relationships you had not even imagined.