I was up at 5am to travel to London and then Luton for a couple of meetings. I’m never very good with mornings, especially the dark variety. Fortunately my colleague Sarah is even worse than me (I enjoyed saying that! – and she’ll probably be all offended if ever she reads this 🙂 Sorry Sarah!) and always makes me feel better in the morning because of it.
Today I met a guy called (I’ll call him M!) Now M struck me as being such a fantastic guy. He was humble and a ‘normal’ guy but it seemed to me that the Lord is using him beyond even his own ability to comprehend it. He works a lot in Angola, and is involved in running a theological development course there. It seemed to me that he had to do a lot on his own or with limited resources, nut he stuck at it and did it. I really admire that (M if you are reading this don’t be embarrassed!). In short, I could see the work of God in him and through him.
M said many things, but one of the things that stayed with me most, was the idea that he wanted to make everything he did sustainable, or in terms of gardening or farming, a crop that will grow and can be harvested. The key but about it growing, with it’s own resources and it’s own life.
That got me thinking about a story in the Bible that I read the other day. The story is a story of some seed. When seed is scattered some falls on the stony/hard ground and fails to take root, some initially falls on fertile ground, but the weeds grow up around it and strangle the life out of it. Some falls on fertile ground and keeps on growing. Tall, strong and hardy, and then it produces a harvest of it’s own.
Jesus talked about this being like the words and life of God in our own lives. I was letting my mind drift a little and I thought about how it could apply to different groups and different places. I wandered if the seed falling on stony ground summed up Africa, or certainly the parts to which I have been. There can be lots of response to God’s kingdom, but does it really take deep root? Winds of change and ideas blow through and suddenly everyone can be in trouble. Maybe we must break up the stony ground. Using the right tools and implements that what we must do. Break it up, so the word can take root.
Now I’m not just talking about Africa here. What about us? Are we recipients of the seed that quickly gets choked and destroyed by the worries, pleasures and cares of this world? Why do we think that the very things that supposedly ‘make our life’ are they very things that in fact ‘kill our life’. Think about it, loving money chokes us, it makes us selfish, self centered and no use to anything or anyone. The love of Pleasure again panders to our self. If the noblest thing someone can do is spend themselves and give themselves for another, we have a habit of pursuing out own pleasure for our own ends and don;t usually notice the pain of others. So much has not been done in the name of our own safety and comfort. The scary thing is, in African cities, that same mind set, is creeping in…. Maybe we need to pull out the weeds that are surrounding us and choking us??
Why? We should do it, because if the word takes root, it produces a harvest of righteousness, that far surpasses anything we could do.
That in real terms is lives changed, communities transformed and Jesus being honored as Lord of All.
Sometimes I feel so powerless, my thoughts today are that everything is so overwhelming and so big. The two things I take solace from are that:
1) My Father knows what he is doing and I can trust Him.
2) He doesn’t ask me to do everything – just what he puts in front of me and maybe all I have do is plant some seeds in the lives of the people I meet.
Maybe, that isn’t so bad after all.