Last week, we were on a ministry trip in California. Needless to say, you meet all kinds of interesting people when you’re out on the West Coast, and especially in places and areas we went. After that, we came back home and had a couple of other interesting encounters as well. Today, I want to share with you these three different stories.
Let me say that these encounters remind me of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. Each of these encounters had hearts that seem to receive or not receive in different ways. First of all, let me share with you about the man in California. We were walking down the street when I saw a man sitting in a chair who quite frankly looked to me like he was going to die very soon. So, I couldn’t just walk by him without giving him a Gospel tract.
I showed him the tract that we give out everywhere. It is an optical illusion with a curved pink card and a blue card, and if you hold them close together one appears to be longer than the other one. That’s the illusion. However, in reality, they are both exactly the same size. People think that’s really cool and they love them. So, we give them a pair of their own and on the back, it has a Gospel message (Law, Judgment, Mercy and Faith).
After I showed this man the illusion and wanted to hand him the tract he said, “No, that’s okay.” I told him it’s got some good stuff on the back like two or three times and yet, he still said, “I don’t need those.” Even though I was trying to give him something that was going to be good for him and possibly save his soul, he rejected it because he didn’t see the value in what he was receiving.
When giving the Gospel to people, I tell our boys that it’s our job to make sure everyone has the opportunity hear the truth, but what they do with it is up to them. You will get rejections, but don’t let that get you down. Your job is to be obedient to the command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15) and everyone else will have to choose to accept or reject the light of God’s truth all on their own.
We also had a second encounter. We were eating at a restaurant after an event in CA and Bradlee “Pink and Blued” (As we like to call it) a lady when we were finished eating. She came back and was quite pleased with what she had received. She said with a smile on her face, “That’s a great way to get into that,” meaning that was a great way to segue into sharing the Gospel. She also said happily that she was definitely going to be checking out the .com (Our website) that was on the tract. She received the “Good News” of the Gospel with joy.
Then, there was the man in Minnesota, who we saw at the grocery store after we got back home. We were walking down one of the many aisles at the grocery store when we saw an employee who was stocking the shelves. Our son Judah gave him a Gospel tract as we were passing by and then we went on our way. This man made a point after he had taken a look at the tract to come and find us in the next aisle of the grocery store to ask our son if he knew what adultery was, which was one of the commandments he had read on the cards, and why he gave them to him. Our son then proceeded to answer his questions and told him that he wanted him to have the Gospel.
It was almost as if this man was testing Judah to see if he really knew what he was giving him. The man was satisfied by Judah’s answers and seemed pleasantly surprised. Only the Lord knows exactly why this man needed a tract, but this could have been an answer to his prayers, the conviction he needed, or a sign for him that God was really there.
Just like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, everyone is on a different path and place in their journey. Some people are completely off the path. Other people are extremely burdened by their sin and need Salvation. Then, there are those who have kept the faith, but are weary and need an encouraging word from the Lord and then there are those who on the other hand, need a good stick to get them back on the path. Only God knows what each individual needs, but the message of the Gospel is only going to bring forth more of that which is needed for them on their journey regardless of where they’re at in their life.
We may find those along the way who when they hear the message (The seed of the Gospel) it falls by the wayside. They don’t understand it and have the fowls (Or the wicked one) come and devour the seed or take away that which was sown in his heart. We may see those who when we give them the message they receive it with joy, but it falls upon a heart of stone and because the seed of the Gospel falls where it cannot take root, once tribulation or persecution comes, they are offended and fall away.
Then we may encounter those who the message falls upon thorns and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and they are unfruitful. However, then there are those of whom the soil of their heart is completely right to hear the message of the Gospel. They and hungry to hear the truth and when presented in the right way, it makes sense. The seed goes down deep and having good roots they won’t be choked by the cares of this world or leave the faith because of the deceitfulness of the riches of this world, but that rather bring forth fruit some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold as the Bible says in Matthew 13:23.
I have seen some “professed” Christians so nervous or unwilling to really take a stand and share the Gospel. What are you so afraid of? You hold the keys of the “Good News” that is going to set prisoners locked in chains absolutely free and give them the hope that is only found in Christ and you’re afraid to do it? That doesn’t make any sense! You wouldn’t be hesitant to give a cure to a person with a horrible disease here on earth that you knew was going to die without it if you had it to give, would you? Of course not! Then why are you so hesitant to give the cure that will set the sinner free who is ridden with sin (Because of their transgressing God’s Law, the Ten Commandments- I John 3:4) so they can be made new and whole in Christ?
God has called each and every one of us to do the work of an evangelist. It was Charles Spurgeon who said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!” If witnessing to others is not a regular part of your life, then I would seriously question if you are really are saved yourself, or know what you supposedly have been saved from or for. Regardless of what kind of soil the seed of the Gospel falls upon, it is our job to make sure that seed is scattered anywhere and everywhere. Just as Paul said in I Corinthians 3:6, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase,” so we must trust in the Lord to bring forth the fruits of salvation. The only thing that you can take with you when you die, is the souls of other men and women that the Lord uses you to bring them to their Savior, their only hope here on earth. So, keep scattering the seeds of the Gospel, for in the end the salvation of mankind is the only thing that will matter.