Journal Matt 13 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down—and the whole crowd stood on the beach.
And [Jesus] told them many things in parables, saying:
- A Sower went out to sow.
- And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path and the birds came and devoured them.
- Other seeds fell on rocky ground (where they did not have much soil) and immediately they (the seed) sprang up since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched. And since they had no depth of soil, they withered away.
- Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
- [Still] other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
He who has ears, let him hear.” Matt 13:1-9
Observation: Even in the Kingdom, there are lessons on the return of investment. In this case, Jesus is talking about the inherent risk of the Gospel and what disciples should be aware of.
Application: I think this is a corollary of Matthew 28 or what is known as the Great Commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19 and 20)
Mark says it this way:
“And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation…” (Mark 16:15)
Only when these two scriptures are taken together are the two major points of the Commission emphasized:
- Go and preach the Gospel.
- Make disciples.
I am not of the persuasion that “making converts” equates to “making or being a disciple.” The parable of the soils indicates that, if I do the math, only 1 out of 4 becomes what the scriptures would describe as a disciple.
So, is there a scriptural emphasis on “preaching the Gospel” (or witnessing), or is there an emphasis on making (constructing, building, etc.) disciples—“teaching them all I have commanded you.”?
And, if I were to deconstruct this some more, is any response to the Gospel due to my effort, technique, etc., or is it God’s Sovereignty alone?
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father (who has given them to me) is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)
So, the Scripture says only His sheep hears his voice and the result is that they follow Him. What does that say about the 75% that do not follow and become disciples?
Personally, I conclude: Not my responsibility. As a “wanna-be” disciple, I am instructed to:
- Preach the Gospel. If 1 out of 4 (a .250 batting average) nets a disciple, it is only of God’s Sovereignty that it occurs.
- Make an effort to make disciples. This one I can help influence (under the doctrine of Man’s Responsibility), first by making all effort to be a disciple and not rest on “calling myself a disciple.” Check out what Paul says to Timothy:
“…you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness… (1 Tim 4:6b-7)
Practice these things. Immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress…” (1 Tim 4:15)
Prayer: Lord God, you see my struggles. I don’t know whether my physicality is betraying me or the grip on my mind is weak and my love for you is frail. You see the temptations that have cropped up lately. Strengthen me to resist and say no.
Please keep my thoughts stayed upon You. Only You have the words of life.
Ricky Two Shoes