I love to preach. Not just the delivering of the sermon, but the whole process. I love the progression my mind and heart go through as I prepare. It seems that I start with a small nugget and by the end God has walked me through a long process of growth that concludes with the delivering of the sermon. While I enjoy preaching, I don’t do it a lot. So when I do, I really want it to be epic. I won’t have a chance for a do-over for a long while so I really want each one to count.
Two days ago I had the opportunity to preach at my church, the Golf Course Road Church of Christ. We are in a series called “Second Touch” and are taking a second look at Jesus, as well as allowing him to give us all a second touch. We are going through the book of Mark and when my time came, we were at Mark 4. Mark slows the gospel down in chapter 4 and really emphasizes the teachings of Christ, revealing something to us about the Kingdom through parables. This sermon was going to be focused on the Parable of the Sower.
I had no idea going into this sermon process how God would shape my thoughts. I had only heard one type of sermon on the Parable of the Sower, and it always seemed lacking. Thankfully, I heard a sermon by a preacher named Wade Hodges that gave me a second look at Jesus’ teaching. I always thought the emphasis was on the soils. So, I read the parable and asked the question, “what kind of soil am I?” Not a bad question and in fact, I think it is one we need to ask. However, what I wanted us to think about through this message was that if our only take away from this parable is to do a soil analysis, we might have missed a major point. The truth is, if you are honest, you are a little of each of these soil types at times. As Wade Hodges helped me see, the disciples themselves looked like bad soil through most of the gospel narratives. However, if we read the whole story, we see the soil change. Why and how? Is it because of the soil? No, it is because the Sower is so great and he is relentless in his working of the soil. I desperately wanted people to hear that message two days ago.
As I said, I don’t get to preach often. Therefore, when I do, I really worry and struggle over whether or not people journeyed with me through the process I went through. Two days ago I really wanted people to hear how faithful the Sower was and how he takes our little and makes it a lot. After I preached this sermon (twice in two services), it occurred to me that the sermon process was not complete before the delivering of the sermon. Here I was worried about me, the soil. Did I say it right? Was I clear? Did people here what I was trying to say? The climax of this process was the close of the second service when I felt God really saying to me, “just cast the seed, I’ll work the soil”. They say you learn more preaching and teaching than the group your teaching does. I can say for sure on Sunday that is a true statement.
So, thank God I don’t have to be epic when I speak. If I did, I wouldn’t ever do it again. And, I’m thankful for the process he took me through to show me how faithful of a Sower he is. If you are a follower of Christ, you have been called into this business of sowing seed. As I told my church Sunday, we grab a bag of seed and go to sowing with him. Sometimes we will feel like a hard path, sometimes it seems we are full of rocks, and if you’re like me, often you feel the thorns closing in around you. But, the Sower is faithful. He keeps sowing and he keeps working that soil until he sees a great harvest. We see glimpses of that harvest now, and one day when he returns and makes all things new, we will see the full extent of that harvest. A harvest that is so great it seems almost too good to be true. Why? Because the Sower is so great and he keeps on sowing.