It’s not very often that I’ll admit a weakness so publicly, so pay close attention! Here’s the thing: I’m really terrible at plants. I know, that doesn’t make much sense, but hear me out. I was the kid whose bean plant had no chance in the third grade. Give me a cactus, and it’ll be dead in no time. I’m even bad at dead plants; I had a seriously hard time trying to start a fire with some dead trees the other night.
As bad as I am at plants, some of my favorite teachings from the Bible use plants as illustrations. Jesus loved using plants in His parables and stories. One of the stories that has stuck out to me recently is Jesus’ parable of the sower in Matthew 13. As the story goes, the sower threw a whole bunch of seeds on various different kinds of terrain in hopes that all of the seeds would sprout. But because of various different reasons, some didn’t make it, others didn’t make it very long, and few survived until they actually yielded crop. While I believe this story has several different lessons enclosed in it, I’d like to focus on one in particular for my fellow college ministers.
The story starts with Jesus proclaiming, “Behold, a sower went out to sow.” May I suggest to you that as we all gear up to start our Fall semester in next few weeks, that the story begins and ends with us in that one declaration by our Lord. This is one of the greatest secrets of ministry! The first couple weeks of the semester are crazy, and they should be. The competition is fierce for students’ attention, and we definitely want to be in the game. Naturally this means that we should be super busy with programs and appointments trying to win as many students with the gospel as we can. But the truth is that you and I have no idea just who we are going to be reaching. We don’t know who will give us the time of day, or who will totally reject us and our message. We have no idea what circumstances these new students are going through that will prove to be good or bad soil. Truthfully, we’re not responsible for the good plants that yield crops. It’s all God’s doing. Our only job as sowers is to sow, God will handle the rest.
Thanks be to God that my lack of care of earthly plants is not a reflection of the plenty of heavenly seeds that I’ve sown that have yielded good crop. This semester, I’m taking up our calling: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.”