Sower and seeds
September 15, 2017 at 6:00 AM
Workers help construct a church in Aite, Mali. It's the first Christian church of its kind in the region. Pray for the Gospel message as it goes out.
Sower and seeds
Something has changed in Aite, Mali. Villagers have watched the walls go up on the first Christian church many of them have ever seen.
There are questions. There are reactions – some of them negative. Some complain to the chief, and the chief has to be diplomatic in discussing this project with his friend, Luke Society ministry director Indielou Dougnon. They both care deeply for the people they serve, and they need to work together well.
It is a step of faith to place a church building in this place. God’s work has been effective here for 18 years, and everyone knows what motivates the director of the Luke Society clinic. It is his faith and trust in God, and his love for the people in this place.
We do not know how God will use the church in Aite. The political situation in Mali is unstable right now. Christians are aware of the potential dangers, but they are more concerned about the great needs of their neighbors.
“A sower went out to sow…”
In the parable of the sower and the seed (Matthew 13:1-9), it seems as though the sower is either ignorant or foolish as he scatters his precious seed in various places where they are unlikely to take root and produce anything.
Why throw them on the path where they will be eaten by birds; or among the rocks, where their shallow roots will not support them to maturity; or among the weeds, where there is not enough nourishment?
The sower knows something we do not know.
The sower is willing to risk that a few of those seeds will take root and bear fruit. The return on his investment will be small, but for some reason this sower considers it worthwhile. Could it be that the sower knows almost nothing will grow, but still chooses to sow the seeds with abandon? Does the size of the harvest matter to him, or does he simply delight in sowing seeds?
We wonder sometimes whether our efforts to share the gospel in word and in deed will have a substantial spiritual effect. Will people recognize the hand of God in their medical care? Do they sense a stirring in their spirit when they hear the gospel? Will the seeds take root?
The parable is often interpreted to mean that we are soil or path — fertile or barren in terms of our acceptance and growth in Gospel matters.
We might sometimes think of ourselves as sowers. This time through Matthew 13, I wonder if God’s people are not sowers or soil, but are instead seeds themselves. Our lives show forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our Luke Society colleagues land in places that seem unlikely to bear fruit if we are measuring by human standards. But the Divine Sower has the vision, the wisdom, and most of all, the love it takes to sow them as seed in unlikely places.
We might wonder why anyone would build a church in a place that could be hostile to what it symbolizes. The Sower knows whether, and how it will bear fruit. I am thankful that my friends in Mali, Indielou and Nema Dougnon, and the Diabougou Church in Kayes, trust God to know where to sow the Gospel.