I recently had a conversation with a good friend about the necessity of discipleship and the idea that good discipleship is foundational to growing ministry and developing leadership. I was thinking about that conversation as I read through Luke 8 and 9 in preparation for this post.
Luke 8:4-8 4While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
I’ve read the Parable of the Sower a million times and have always limited it to mean that the person (the seed) who hears the Word receives and believes, hears and gives up, or rejects the message. Either way I’ve always thought it to be a choice on the seed’s part, or a matter of hardness of heart. This time when I read it I realized that in all three scenarios the seed is the same seed. It never changes. There is no difference. What determines the outcome of the seed’s growth is the soil it lands on.
I think the church is the soil. Is yours rocky, ridged, trampled, and dried up? Is yours thorny with hypocrisy and gossip? Or is your church soil filled with life giving nutrients that a new sapling needs to take root? I’ve attended all three. Good discipleship (soil) in good churches is what makes people (seeds) grow.
The first part of Luke 8:14 reads: “Therefore consider carefully how you listen.” I thought it was interesting that Jesus threw this in when he was teaching on sowing seeds and lights under baskets. My study bible says that this is a statement for the disciples to carefully listen to his teaching, ensuring that they understand its meaning because they are responsible for teaching it to others. Discipleship, right?
Listen carefully. Enrich the soil. Grow seeds.
What are your thoughts on Luke 8 and 9? Share your comments with us.
Special request: Our church is looking for new ways to engage in the discipleship process. If your church is using new media (Twitter, audio or video podcasts, blogs, live stream, YouTube, etc.) please share about it in the comments. I’m looking for new ideas, innovative uses, and outcomes. Help!