Plant More Trees

I love preaching at Crossroads Greeley. We have an amazing fellowship of believers and God is doing awesome things in our area of the world. 

Last weekend I preached on “Plant More Trees“, which is a take off from Bill Hybels and the Willow Creek Association conference about evangelism. Thank you Bill. 

ImageWe are preaching through the gospel of Mark in the Bible and we encountered Jesus teaching parables from the bow of a boat. He is speaking to the crowds on the “soil” at the water’s edge. He tells the story of the sower who scattered seed on the path, the rocks, among the thorns and on the good soil. 

The disciples and some gathered around him asked what the parable meant and Jesus explained that the seed is the Word of God, the soils are the condition of the hearts of people who either reject the truths of God, or accept it and grow. 

As we talked at Crossroads, sometimes people who are “sowers of God’s Word”, or you and I who share our faith as believers in Jesus… sometimes we take the responsibility evangelism too seriously and try to own the “outcome” of the sharing God’s truth. I tried to let people off the hook of responsibility a little bit by saying that the outcome depends on the Lord and the soils of peoples’ heart, not how hard you work as a sower.

Sometimes we who call ourselves “followers of Jesus”, or Christians for short, take the responsibility of “closing the deal” with people by making them convert to Christianity, if they don’t know God. Now this is all well and good, for it’s a method we learned from evangelists like Billy Graham, Greg Laurie, Franklin Graham and Luis Palau back in the days of big tent revivals. Some are still effective today. I’m in favor of all these venues to bring believers into God’s Kingdom, btw… which isn’t the point of this blogety blog. 

I think Christians feel the ‘responsibility’ to win others over to believing in Jesus, and when we don’t “close the deal” it feels like a salesman losing a sale, or a potential client walking away. 

How do you feel about sharing your faith? 

Do you do it much? Are you comfortable talking about God with strangers? Or with friends who you know don’t like God? 

What most Christians tell me is that they are afraid of rejection about the entire thing, so they don’t plant trees (share God’s love and truth with others). 

I thought of the UPS delivery person who drops off packages all day. Do they take rejection personally? Do they feel the loss when someone isn’t at their home, or office to receive the package? NO. The UPS person is more than willing to take the little brown box back to their little brown truck and sign off that the package wasn’t delivered. If the receiver isn’t home to receive it, sometimes the UPS person just sticks a note on the door for the receiver to pick the package on their own time. 

What if we “believers” shared our faith in God without having to take the responsibility for how the soils receive the word? If the path is cold, let it go. If the rocks have no depth of soil, don’t trouble your own heart. If the thorns choke out the truth of the Word of God in others b/c of worry, deceitfulness of money, or desires for other things… coach a person along, but let them make their own efforts about the truth of God. And, if the good soil in others receives the Word of God with joy and begins to produce 30, 60 or 100 times the return… then don’t take responsibility for that either… 

It’s all God’s work, and God’s Word for people to receive.

Just scatter more seed, and as Bill Hybels would say, “Plant More Trees”. 

Published by Reid Olson

I was a pastor who still knows a personal connection with God and I like to share thoughts and insights to make God's Kingdom a little more tangibly, while sharing conversations on leadership insights. Now I'm a funeral director, still seeking to share about Jesus.

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