We were in Drummond at the town park for the annual watermelon feed. It was a lot of fun and I think I ended up getting into a seed spitting fight with the youth.
|Does anyone else see ammunition when you look at this picture?|
In the summertime, everyone loses when this happens. You end up sticky and covered in watermelon juice and this attracts mosquitoes like nobody's business!
Before all of this, we would mingle around the park with the residents, meeting new people. I remember running into John and Tammy Curtis and visiting with them for quite a while. They were members of the First Baptist Church in town and quite active. I didn't even think of them as prospects since they already had a church home.
Imagine my surprise when they showed up at our church that January unannounced. Their daughter Ashleigh was a sixth grader and we had a large contingent of her school class enrolled in our confirmation program. It was starting and they declared that Ashleigh was going through it with the other students.
I was a little stunned. I didn't want to take active Christians away from a smaller church that needed them. But if they were determined to give us a try, I was not going to make it difficult!
They soon became active members of our church and discovered that The United Methodist Church was a better fit for them. They were at the church whenever the doors were open and John eventually became our Lay Leader. As we shared in Bible Study together, John answered God's call to pastoral ministry and began to serve as a Local Pastor in some of our churches in Oklahoma. His daughter Ashleigh went on to work as a Youth Minister in our conference as well. This seed has sprouted 100 fold and I didn't even know I was planting it!
But God knew.
I didn't think of our conversation as sowing seeds. I didn't think of our activity in the community as sowing seeds. I didn't think about going to school functions as sowing seeds. I didn't even think (ironically) of spitting seeds at kids in the park and allowing them to return fire as sowing seeds. But all of these things work together with God to speak to people about our church.
The culture of a church is impacted by how you speak of it to your neighbors. It is impacted by how you let it influence the way you treat others.
The thing about the parable of the sower is that he is not sensible at all in spreading the seed. He tosses it this way and that as if he has an endless supply.
Maybe the point of the parable is that it is sometimes difficult for us to identify what is good soil and what is rocky or thorny. What looks like a hard path might just be receptive to what we are planting.
Only God knows.
So spread that seed far and wide. You never know when a conversation will make a world of difference. Maybe even 100 fold!
Picture by Caroline Ford (Secretlondon) - Own work, used under Creative Commons