Tell the Story: Evangelism and Discouragement

Posted: November 18, 2014 in church art ministry resources
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gardenerThere’s no two ways about it. We Christians are commanded to share our faith. Those of us on the creative side of the realm (though I still believe everyone is creative) seem to have received special tools to share God’s story, but sometimes it seems like people’s hearts are totally closed to the Gospel. It can really feel pretty discouraging.

When we are discouraged, as well as every other time, it’s a great idea to look to Jesus. Jesus did most of his teaching in stories we call parables. This should be incredibly encouraging for those of us who feel a creative bent. One story that really speaks to this dilemma is The Parable of the Sower (found in Matthew 13 among other places). Jesus is out teaching people who are seeking truth and so Jesus tells the story of a sower (farmer) planting seeds. It’s a parable that talks about people who go out to share the Word of God (the seed in the story). The seed falls on different kinds of soil (hearts). Some seed is eaten before it can take root. Some seed falls on rocky soil where it cannot take good root. Some seed falls among thorns and is choked out and finally some falls on good soil where it yields a crop 100 times what is planted. It’s a pretty simple story that deals with the receptiveness of hearts to the Gospel. Right after this, Jesus’ disciples ask why he teaches in parables. Jesus’ response at first glance feels really confusing.

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see;though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

We usually look at the parables as illustrations Jesus told to help us understand Scripture, and they are, but Jesus also says here that to some people they are deliberately confusing. This seems so counter to Jesus that it almost feels wrong. I believe the answer to the confusion is found in the parable itself. The stories are easy to understand to hearts that are open but to people who refuse to listen, who don’t have ears to hear, the parables confound their understanding.

Some theologians believe that certain people are elected to receive salvation while others are not. That belief does not fit with my understanding of Scripture not my understanding of God. I believe it is His will that none should perish but that all come to repentance (as it says in 2 Peter 3:9). That said, I have also shared my faith with people who seem to refuse to receive it and that can be discouraging beyond words. So what should we do?

Well first of all, I look at my own history. There was a time in my life where I didn’t want to hear it either and yet God got through because some people cared enough to share anyway. Secondly, I think we all need to remember all these farming analogies in Scripture. The apostle Paul for example once talked about how he planted the seed (the Gospel) another watered it, but God made it grow. This is the point. When you share your story it will fall on both receptive and unreceptive hearts. We need to remember it’s not up to us to decide who is who. It is up to us to plant the seeds. This is what Jesus commands in the Great Commission (Matthew 28). Whether or not the seed we plant takes root is up to God. You may be the planter who gets to see the seed take root and grow, or you may be the first of hundreds to make the attempt before God breaks through.

Let your faith overcome your discouragement. Trust God to be at work. Trust God to work the soil. Trust God to get through and bring the growth.

You plant the seeds, you tell the story.

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