For the past several weeks, I’ve been preaching on Jesus’ parable about the sower, the seed, and the soils. The parable is so important that it is recorded in three of the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Jesus said the sower sows the seed. Then Jesus described four kinds of soils: hard ground, stony ground, thorny ground and good ground. These soils represent the spiritual condition of the human heart. At any given point, a person receiving the seed may have a hard heart, a shallow heart, a preoccupied heart, or an open, receptive heart.
Think about the seed the sower sows. In every seed is the potential for much growth and fruit. A seed has the power to grow and the power to overcome tremendous obstacles. How many times have you seen blades of grass break through asphalt? That’s power.
Jesus said the seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11), and time and time again, God’s Word has proven itself to be powerful. “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
A husband came up to his pastor after the worship service closed and looked around to be sure no one was listening. He whispered, “That sermon. Did my wife tell you what went on in our house last week?”
The pastor laughed and said, “No, I had no idea, but God did!”
In January, 2012, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos sent the Pittsburg Steelers home with a 29-23 AFC wildcard playoff win. Do you remember the eye black Tebow wore? The scripture John 3:16 was displayed.
That scripture caught the curiosity of many viewers. It didn’t hurt that Tebow happened to pass for 316 yards during that game. Tebow completed ten passes for a 31.6 yard-per-completion average. The TV rating for that highly watched game? 31.6. The only interception thrown that night was by Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger in a third down, 16-yards situation.
There were millions of internet searches during and after the ballgame. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association launched a special John 3:16 webpage through its PeacewithGod.net site. That next week, the page explaining the meaning of John 3:16 received over 9,000 visits and 170 people indicated they received Jesus as Savior. (https://www.christianpost.com/news/did-tim-tebows-316-yards-passing-lead-170-to-jesus-67178/).
That’s a powerful scripture, but, again, the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
The Gideons International organization does an awesome job of sowing the seed. In 2016, according to their annual report, the Gideons distributed scriptures to 91.8 million people worldwide. Many of these recipients have had life-changing experiences through the power of God’s Word.
One of these was Tracy Johnson of Tiff, MO. In 2009, Johnson was a hardcore drug user practicing witchcraft. She stole a Gideon Bible and started reading it. She came to Deuteronomy 18:12-13, where it says that all that use witchcraft, divination and consulters are like an abomination to God.
That got her attention, and she was crushed that she was an abomination to anybody, let alone God. She thought she was a good person who didn’t lie, cheat, or kill (she just stole Bibles).
She shared, “I always believed in Jesus and knew it all was true. I even knew at one point that I had to be born again, but the devil has a way of causing one not to think upon those kinds of things. Anyhow, I didn’t think I was anything near what the Bible said I was. But the Lord by His Spirit let me know that’s exactly what I was. Then the Lord began to reveal things to me from His Holy Word and called me to a definite crossroads over the next month. He told me I needed to choose who I would serve.
“So with only a Bible from The Gideons . . ., I got on my knees and repented . . .” Tracy prayed to receive Jesus because of how God used what she read. (blog.gideons.org/2012/01/a-testimony-of-the-power-of-gods-word/). That’s just one example of the saving power of God’s Word. It’s still a very powerful, life-transforming seed. We just need to be faithful to plant it in people’s lives.
(Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, 352 McDonough Road, Fayetteville, Georgia. Join them for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. each Sunday. Visit them online at www.mcdonoughroad.org.).