Yesterday I took a Sunday off to attend a family reunion. On our way down to the Bay Area I received a text message from one of our church staff that read, “Hey your friend Cory from Fremont is here today…he says hi!” When I read that text message I was so disappointed that out of all the Sundays I missed, I missed the one when Cory decided to attend our church.
I met Cory when I was 5 years old. You can read a little bit about how his family impacted my life by reading a post I wrote in January of 2012 called Color Blind. Cory and I grew up together, we went to school together, our families started two businesses together, but as we got into our teen years our lives started to go down different paths. To abbreviate a very long story, their family moved out of our neighborhood and though we would see them around town from time to time we soon lost touch with our long time family friends. I still haven’t seen Cory in about 12 years, but yesterday I gave him a call as soon as I got home. It was my conversation with Cory yesterday that revealed the power there is in sowing a seed.
Cory told me, he remembered when I first told him how Jesus and going to church had changed my life when I was 17 (26 years ago). At that time he said, he laughed it off and continued traveling down a broad path of destruction. Then he told me he remembered 12 years ago, when he showed up at the church I was on staff at in Fremont I told him again that if he committed to going to church, it would change his life. I have not seen Cory since, but the seed that was sown was planted deep in his heart. He said my words never left him and went on to tell me that 3 to 4 years ago, he entered a Christ-centered recovery program that genuinely changed his life.
WOW! I want to encourage you today as churches all over the world move into one of the most strategic times of the year that God’s word will never return void!
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. - Isaiah 55:11
What a promise! I want to give you three seeds to plant this fall, so you can see a harvest reaped in your life.
1. Invite Someone to Church - I don’t think an invite to church should replace knowing how to lead someone to accept Jesus Christ on our own, but it shouldn’t be looked at as a discounted strategy either. I will never forget the Saturday, during our servant evangelism efforts, when a broken lady was handed an ice cold Pepsi at a busy intersection near our church. There was a scotch taped invitation on the Pepsi can that read, “We hope this act of kindness brings some light into your day. It’s a simple way of saying God loves you – no strings attached. Let us know if we can be of more assistance.” That day she glanced at the invitation and just threw it on her dashboard. Three months later she was going through a very difficult time in her life when she noticed the invite still sitting on her dashboard. She read the invitation and showed up to church that next Sunday! When we extend God’s kindness to the world it’s an invitation to a changed life.
2. Invest Your Life into Someone - When we think of investing something our natural tendency is to think of money, but it’s so much more than doing something financially. As fall approaches sow the seed of time, sow the seed of talent and if God is leading you, sow your treasure into someone’s life. I think a lot of times we want the rewards of reaping something with out sowing anything. Paul said,
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6)
Investing in someone is hard work. Cultivating the seed you planted in someone’s life is sometimes overwhelming. Waiting to see your return on what you planted often requires more patience on our part. Here’s the reality: If your invested, you will be tested. God has a lot to say about this subject.
…But he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:8-10)
3. Implement Your Ideas - I personally love giving my ideas away. The more ideas I release to someone else, the more God releases to me. It may be how I’m wired, but what would happen if the idea you’ve been saving could save someone some heartache. How about if the ideas you’v been holding onto could help your church get to the next level? Ideas should never remain idle, they should be released and implemented. Have you ever had a “new” idea that you never acted on? A few months go by and you see someone else who has acted on your idea and it’s really working. They are possibly even profiting from it. I honestly think that when we don’t sow God’s seed of ideas that He gives, God finds someone who will plant them.
Start planning today on how you can plant these seeds in someone’s life or wherever God has placed you. If you don’t sow much, you can’t expect much. Sow a seed today and reap a harvest tomorrow!
What have you reaped as a result of sowing a seed?