Mark 4:26-29 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Anyone who has been involved in evangelism has undoubtedly experienced the reality of this verse. Salvation is a supernatural experience produced by the power of God. I can preach the word of God until my voice fails, but if the Holy Spirit doesn’t move upon the heart, nothing will change.
For years in evangelism I put undue pressure upon myself to produce results, which led to times of great discouragement. I considered if I had said the right things or been persuasive enough. This verse has brought clarity to the role of man and the role of God in the salvation of souls.
The Lord has chosen to use men and women as His messengers. Angels may have been more efficient, but they have not experienced the saving power of God. So frail humanity has been entrusted with this noble task. Let’s consider what this parable says.
The sower is scattering seed on the ground. We know from Luke 8:11 that the seed is the Word of God. Any experienced farmer will make sure that the ground is prepared to receive the seed. Likewise, we pray that the hearts of men would be prepared by the Spirit of God to receive the seed of His Word.
While the seed is in the ground, hidden from sight, things are happening. Life and growth are being produced. For a while it is unseen but eventually it will sprout out of the ground and grow. God is at work.
During this time the farmer isn’t totally inactive. He pulls weeds, watches for insects that would damage the crops and provides water. He ensures that there are optimal conditions for growth. Again, this happens very powerfully through prayer and intercession as the work of God continues to produce life.
A glorious day will come when God’s work has produced a soul ready to be harvested, that is, brought into the kingdom. And here is the farmers joy, to reap the fruit of his labors.
Man cannot do God’s part. He is the one who saves, many times in spite of us. But He has given us a part to play as well. Let us be found faithful as sowers of the word, tending in earnest prayer to those souls who have heard.