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Jesus said the word of God is like seed (Lk. 8:4-15). When “planted” in the heart of an honest and good person, it produces “fruit.” Not every person will respond fruitfully; only those who truly want to obey God. We can’t always know who will and who will not obey the gospel, and even in the case of those who do obey, it is not we, but God who produces the results. Nevertheless, there is work to be done. If the seed is going to be sown in people’s hearts, it is the Lord’s people who must be actively involved. No one else will do it if we do not.
As messengers, our job is to take God’s saving truth to those who need it. Our work is sowing the seed of the kingdom. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Cor. 3:6). The division of labor here is not coincidental. God has assigned us precisely the part of the work that He has deemed best. If we wish to measure the effectiveness with which we are doing our work, we would do well to measure it in terms of seed sown, not the size of the harvest, etc. When we have assessed both the quality and quantity of our efforts to broadcast the seed of the gospel, we will have accurately appraised the only thing that is under our control: the sowing of seed. Many things are beyond our control, but it is always possible for us to be busy disseminating truth. We cannot make decisions for other people, but we can see that they have a chance to decide for or against God. That’s our job.
We cannot wait for perfect conditions before we sow, and we cannot fail to sow simply because we’re not sure exactly which method will bring the best results. We must do the best we can, trusting that God will honor diligent effort by bringing to pass something good. Solomon wisely observed: “As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (Eccl. 11:5,6).
We need to understand how important our work is in God’s plan — and we need to be filled with gratitude for the part that is ours to play. This week, let’s focus on remembering what our work is, and not confuse it with God’s work. If we plant and water, it is God who will give the increase.
Monday: 2 Timothy 2:1,2
Key Idea: We ought to pass along to others what we have learned about God.
Questions for Family Growth: Is it ever enough for us just to learn God’s word ourselves? What else must we do with God’s word? What does it mean to be “faithful” or “trustworthy” in the matter of sharing the gospel with others?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:30.
Tuesday: Luke 8:4-15
Key Idea: Different kinds of people will respond to the gospel in different ways.
Questions for Family Growth: What are the four different kinds of people Jesus tells about in this parable? What determines which kind of heart each of us has? Why do some people obey the gospel while others do not?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:1.
Wednesday: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Key Idea: In the work of the gospel, God does the hard part; we only have to do the easy part.
Questions for Family Growth: In vv.6,7, what does it mean to “plant” and “water”? What did Paul mean when he said that God “gave the growth”? Which is more important: what God does or what we do? What point did Peter make about our work in 1 Pt. 4:10,11?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:2.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 3:4-6
Key Idea: God can make us able to do whatever we ought to do in sharing the gospel..
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to be “adequate” or “sufficient”? If God wants us to share the gospel with others, do we ever have to be afraid that we can’t do what God expects? What are some ways God can help us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:3.
Friday: James 5:7,8
Key Idea: As we sow the gospel seed, we need to be patient while we wait for the harvest.
Questions for Family Growth: Why is it important for a farmer to be patient? What should a farmer do if his seed does not produce a crop as quickly as he would like? Will God’s seed always produce a harvest? Will the harvest always be what we expect from a human standpoint?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:4.
Gary Henry – WordPoints.com