Planting Seeds

I’m reading Bill Hybels’ book, Just a Walk Across the Room. It’s about simple steps that can point people to faith in Christ. It’s what we as Christ followers are supposed to be about. I’ve been married to a minister for twenty years, and I’ve heard it said time and time again from many that it’s just not their “thing” to talk about their faith with those who mean the most to them, with casual acquaintances, or with perfect strangers, either.
As Christ followers, it actually is our thing. Here in the Bible belt we get slack. Everyone goes to church here, right? Everyone is a Christian here, for sure. We make assumptions.
I mentioned we planted a little garden last weekend. We didn’t start from seeds; we planted small plants to get a jump-start on the growing season. My grandparents, who owned and worked a real farm, started with seeds. A lot of seeds. Some produced plants that would eventually produce fruit or vegetables they lived on. Some didn’t. They couldn’t look at the seeds and know for sure which ones would grow once planted. They had to plant them all, and hope for the best.
We’re growing cucumbers in our garden. This makes me smile because recently a friend shared she didn’t know pickles were once cucumbers in a previous life. It made me laugh at the time. It still does. I assumed everyone knew that. I mean it’s why you never see pickle seeds. I also heard a story about a man who would say his dad was a grit farmer. This puzzled many people. But for most the light would soon come on as they’d realized the man raised corn (from which grits are made…once again, let’s not assume.)
Here in the Bible belt it might not be too far fetched to assume most everyone has heard the message of the gospel at least a dozen times. So, if we’re a bit uncomfortable sharing the story of God’s love with others this gets us off the hook, right? Not exactly.
Our goal as Christians is to take as many people to heaven with us as we can.
You have been strategically placed in position to influence someone for the kingdom. Who is it? A neighbor? Grocery cashier? Co-worker? Classmate? Relative? What about your child’s teacher or coach? When you begin to see your life in this light your eyes open, and you begin to see those around you in that light, too.
I’m not saying that you start off quoting scripture and beating them on the head with your largest Bible. I’m just saying that you be a little more intentional about things. Look around you. Prevail upon the Holy Spirit to show you someone who needs a relationship with Christ, and begin that journey by investing in a relationship with them yourself. Listen to their story. They have one, and it might not be pretty. After all, they’re living without the One who can guide them.
Then plant some seeds. You won’t know if any of them will grow, or which ones will. That’s not yours to decide. Yours is to plant them. Show them God cares for them by caring for them yourself. That will likely pull you out of your comfort zone. Hybels shares in his book that a short walk across a room could change someone’s life for eternity. With eternity at stake, who cares about comfort zones? Whose path are you crossing on a regular basis? Do they need a life giving relationship with Christ? If so, it’s no coincidence that your paths are crossing. Make that short walk across the room, street, down the hall, or whatever and make that initial connection.
So you don’t have to be a seminary student to plant a seed, or to show someone that their life matters to you and to God.
Ten years ago, I started a new job on a Medical Oncology unit in a local hospital. I was introduced to all the staff, and everyone was really friendly. Well almost everyone. There was one nurse, Shannon, who would not have a thing to do with me. She’d heard my husband was a minister, and that we were starting a new church in the area. She wanted nothing to do with my new church, my God, or me.
I had to work twelve-hour night shifts with her every weekend. It was grueling, but I was determined we were at least going to be able to work together, if we couldn’t be friends. It was months before she ever spoke to me, and months more before we ever had any kind of meaningful dialogue. But slowly, as I continued to be intentional about our relationship, she wore down. I never talked to her about my faith. I just tried to let her see it.
The night Shannon caught me at the end of a hall, and ventured into a faith conversation is one I will never forget. After that, she became my friend. It was not until two years later that she called me at home one night to tell me she had accepted Christ at her mom’s church, and been baptized that very night! She said once she made the decision, she just couldn’t wait on the baptism, and so the pastor at her mom’s church baptized her immediately!
When I found my voice again, I told her how completely elated I was. She told me I was the first person she’d told because of how I had invested so much in her. That meant the world to me. I went out and bought her a Bible, and gave it to her the next weekend at work. Each night in the wee hours of our shift, as our patients slept, we would have Bible class. It was amazing. Shannon is now my forever friend!
Let’s take a walk, pick up the phone, plant some seeds.
If you ask for someone to invest in, I promise the Holy Spirit will show you someone who needs you to invest in him or her for eternity. He just will. I’m sure of it.

One thought on “Planting Seeds

  1. I guess I am one of those people that is shy about talking about my faith. But you are right. I’m just supposed to plant the seed, God makes it grow. That takes a load off!

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