We all know the Parable of the Sower...here is a refresher:
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
So, why am I talking about this parable? On my drive home yesterday I decided to listen to Shane & Shane. While in High School I listened to their music all the time and it had an impact on my spiritual life. Anyway, I was listening to the song Barren Land which deals with this parable and what God can do in the hearts of men. This song also reminds me of the time I spend in Germany on a short-term mission trip. The summer after I graduated High School I spent 10 days in Germany ministering to a Turkish community. We spent our days hanging out on one street full of Turkish businesses and at the end of this street was a park. The first day we arrived at the park I saw drunk men laying under trees, trash, a few prostitutes walking with men, and even the grass looked bad...it was a Barren Land. During our week here we spent time cleaning up the trash, prayer walking around the park, each day we would have a Bible Study under a tree, and we reached out to those we would meet. The amazing thing was that by the end of our time there the grass was green, there were children playing at the park and it was actually inviting. To me, this was God showing me what He can do with prayer and work! Each time I hear the Shane & Shane song Barren Land I think about this Turkish community and that park. Let me give you the lyrics so you can get a better idea of why this song was so significant to me during my time in Germany and significant to me now in the work I am doing at AMG International.
Barren Land by Shane Bernard
"barren land can overflow with
life and fruit and fields that grow
in the barren land with labor and toil
planting seed and tilling soil
will stay the same, stay the same
but if for rain! but if for rain!
but if for rain to fall, irresistibly call
rain to cover me
but if for rain to heal, uncontrollably fill
the soil of eternity
and barren land will overflow with
life and fruit and fields that grow
Holy Spirit spur me to till
a once barren land so thirsty still
for living water, O God, sustains
so life and fruit and fields remain
lest they stay the same, stay the same"
But if for rain! We planted seeds in Germany among the Turks living there and I pray that God would continue to grow those seeds, that they did not fall on rocky or shallow soil. I have the same prayer for the thousands of children in the AMG Child Sponsorship Program. Daily we are planting the seed of Christ in their lives and in their family member's lives.
Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”