In the name of Jesus! Amen!

I love bread! I love the “artisan“ bread you get at fancy restaurants, fancy hotels, fancy bread shops, anywhere that has fancy bread. Sometimes a knob of cool salted butter, other times oil and balsamic vinegar, sometimes just “bread” … mmm!

And other times I don’t.  I am fickle. If I was an artisan baker I would not like me much – never knowing if I am an appreciative bread eater or not.  Poor artisan baker!!  And something else …

That parable about the sower of seeds and the different “ears” that did and did not “hear” … how come we “good Christians” assume the role of “sower” (or is it just me that does that)?

All the angst and sacrifice and burden – as we sow our seeds – as so much is wasted – as we are scorned – persecuted – laughed at – dismissed – ignored – only a few of our special grains falling on “fertile ground” …  All that hard work and so little reward!

We have that in black and white!

Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky … “ Matthew 4:1-20 (link here)

And then – later – the dusty peeps (and we) get a (our) personal reading:

The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables … “ There you have it!  The appointed “sowers of seeds” is there in black and white for us good Christians evermore! “in the name of Jesus! Amen!”

Over my journey that has bugged me a little (and now a lot) …

Splashing seeds around is easy.  Sowing seeds is writing a blog like this.  Sowing seeds so often becomes a celeb game. Is that why we focus on “sowing seeds” … ? Writing blogs – and maybe books – and maybe selling books – and maybe even being asked to write articles – then maybe even being asked to … and maybe EVEN becoming a minor celeb (or a major one) – and it’s all good – because it’s all “in the name of Jesus! Amen!”

Whereas making disciples is tough. Making disciples is relationship. Making disciples is a team game.  Making disciples … ?

That happens out of sight. That happens in small groups, silent places, face to face, skin to skin. That happens slowly silently over time and maybe never in my lifetime or yours.  The “payback” is missing: there are never adoring crowds, never any obvious hierarchy, never one leader who will and grateful pupils who do.  Maybe for Jesus (who just happens to be God – which I kind of have to keep remembering!) – but for you and me?

If I disciple you – YOU disciple ME.  If I teach you – YOU teach ME.  If I grow you – YOU grow ME!  If I am a shepherd – I am also a sheep – just as you are.  We are ALL both when we allow the Holy Spirit to flow freely from within – when we connect – when we allow Him in us.

There is only one Grower of Seeds – and it is not you or me.

We are always the path, the weeds, the rocky place and the fertile ground – all of those “places” that change day by day (and moment by moment) in each of us.  Just as I love artisan bread always (unless) – so too we receive His seed always (unless)!

And unless we “get that” – we take this “command”:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

And make it this command:

“Teach them to obey!”

Which is why I think we still prefer the payback of “likes”, of “followers”, of a book, of an interview, of our photo here and there in technicolour (or maybe a moody black and white pic) … our face for all to see doing Kingdom Work, of being the shepherd (never the sheep).  Which is why I think that sowing seeds is a cop-out a lot of the time.  Because too often we assume we are “the seed” – and you are not.  And then wrap ourselves in sackcloth and ashes at all the rejection “in the name of Jesus! Amen!”

Maybe that is why we make Sunday church so important – less rejection … or group licking of wounds of rejection … or proving we aren’t rejected at all  (maybe) 

I think we each have to become less “sowers of seeds” and more “receivers of pebbles” in still quiet places – in still quiet pools.  The still places where we each hear Him – The Grower of Seeds – in those still quiet places of discipling where the Grower of Seeds does HIS Kingdom Work in us.

That – for me – is discipling. That – for me – is THE team game.  The team where you and I are never – ever! – THE leader … THE sower … THE Shepherd … THE Grower … THE anything – other than … the very best disciple ever.  Because Jesus showed us HOW to be that as well.

It’s all there in black and white waiting for each of us to find.   But we will never find it just by reading and then rushing off to do all that fine “Kingdom Stuff” (of which our good Christian diaries always overflow).  That is NOT the place where we hear Him.  That is just us running around doing more and more “teach them to obey!”

Is it just me – am I missing something?   Is there a different bible I should be reading?  Because I see so many sowers who believe they are growers and I wonder –

Why is that?

21 thoughts on “In the name of Jesus! Amen!

    • Hiya TMT – thank you. I have gone through a number of variants on this theme. I expect there may be a few more over any years yet to come. Makes reading the bible with our Lord a lot of fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “We are always the path, the weeds, the rocky place and the fertile ground – all of those “places” that change day by day (and moment by moment) in each of us.” So true! The Word of God is always meant to study us–locate us, and if we’re willing, cultivating and fertilize our hearts so we can be better dirt.
    The Sower works best through us when we learn to maintain this constant interaction.
    Good stuff, Paul! Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Relationship again!

      I heard someone proclaim that the bible “never changes”, and took from that he had found his truth and was sticking to it. The comment came during a discussion of “Christian brothers” who were polar opposites and could find nothing in common with each other. Two ministers/pastors on tv. The link to that clip came with a gloating “gladiatorial” kind of headline.

      Thanks Mel.

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  2. I never know who will be reached, who will see the words in my blog or even if it will make a difference. I only know that I will continue as long as He guides me in scattering what seed He gives me. My prayer is that we humans will allow ourselves to open our mind and allow God to speak to us. If a seed is planted that accomplishes this, then it is to His glory.

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    • “I enjoy providing food for thought and exchanging points of view. This is how the “Think Tank” came to life. So come on aboard, ask questions and join me on my journey. It should be fun!”

      And that is a connection! Thank you Bill.

      He changes me. Only because I accept the invitation. And because He speaks through others everywhere and anywhere I seek community. What you know is my prayer to. And these posts are sometimes “dictation” and sometimes guidance and sometimes me saying “not sure about this one Lord”. And less and less I find reason to compartmentalise His wonderful creations, and less and less reason to “convince” anyone either ((hugs))

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  3. I always enjoy your “reflections” brother. Your reflections cause me to reflect and to meditate. I love what you stated also about discipling. Years ago, as a much younger man, I desired the numbers for I thought it was in the numbers that more planting was done. The Lord in His gentle but wise ways showed me the very thing that you stated, “Whereas making disciples is tough. Making disciples is relationship. Making disciples is a team game. Making disciples … ?

    That happens out of sight. That happens in small groups, silent places, face to face, skin to skin. That happens slowly silently over time and maybe never in my lifetime or yours. The “payback” is missing: there are never adoring crowds, never any obvious hierarchy, never one leader who will and grateful pupils who do.

    If I disciple you – YOU disciple ME. If I teach you – YOU teach ME. If I grow you – YOU grow ME! If I am a shepherd – I am also a sheep – just as you are. We are ALL both when we allow the Holy Spirit to flow freely from within – when we connect – when we allow Him in us.”

    It also reminded me of something Sister Bette Cox pointed out in one of Apostle Paul’s writings when he admonished those he was writing to, “follow after me AS I follow after Christ.” That was real discipleship because he was demonstrating that he wasn’t the source, he, like those he was writing too were or should ultimately follow Christ Jesus! Jesus is the grower, He is the source of life, whether it be the analogous “grain or seed” or us as disciples.

    I have seen the Holy Spirit perform so many life-changing miracles by what you stated so beautifully, and of which you and I have discussed often, relationships. It was the relationship of Christ with His intimate group of disciples and it was the relationship of the disciples with their followers (as they followed Christ) where the real growth was.

    Somewhere along the line, in church history, we started to believe that it was quantity of “sheep” that made a difference when right from the beginning it was the model Christ exemplified, disciple a few to disciple a few more and etc., etc.! Yes you can teach a large group, as Jesus Himself did from time to time, but the biggest impact came from a small group who had relationships!!

    The other thing He really “reproved” me on was that I was to be obedient in my “duty.” I was not the one to “get” results and as long as I was faithful at the Holy Spirit’s direction, it was up to the Holy Spirit to accomplish the “growing.” That was probably the hardest lesson for we so often connect the doing with the results. From time to time I STILL have to remind myself that I can only “spread or plant the seed” but it is God and ONLY God who gives the increase!

    I love you brother, sincerely because in many ways we are similar (in life’s experience and ideas) but yet you are able to shed light in ways I can’t. This is what the Holy Spirit wants all of us to be like and you said it so wonderfully, “If I teach you – YOU teach ME. If I grow you – YOU grow ME! If I am a shepherd – I am also a sheep – just as you are.” That my dearest brother is the Holy Spirit giving life to the seed!!

    Thank you again, for a wonderful opportunity to think, to ponder and to meditate on our wonderful Lord! God bless you, so very richly! Until later brother, Love and hugs!

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    • Oddly, I ponder something new reading your words – gracious, warm, loving, and connecting as always.

      My Father – after two + years fed me some “compliments”. Maybe miniscule to anyone else. Massive to me. And your thoughts have caused me to think this –

      If He brings people to us as we are ready, connects us with people at the right moment – then why not feed us “motivation” in the same way? If I love you, what merit is there is with-holding a kindness of word, an encouragement of the moment ? And if we do that – then why not our Lord and Father too?

      And always He must do that through others – His words within others. Or else how would we know we not simply kidding ourselves? Compliments used to embarrass me – I used to reflect them back – almost push them away. Now … ? Something changed over the last two years. Now I see Love outflowing when a “real compliment” is offered (and I think we can all tell the difference). And I will not reflect love – push love back. So now I say thank you.

      So dear brother – thank you always ((hugs))

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      • Brother Paul, I had a problem with the same thing years ago, then sadly, yes sadly, the Lord opened my eyes to recognize true humility and false humility. Now, I let what comes (compliments or critique) come and let the Holy Spirit do with them in my heart and spirit as He sees fit. I grow through both now and don’t look at them as anything other than what and how they are given. I have seen the Lord’s love in action so many times, and when not in “meeting a physical or natural need” you know groceries, food a little help here and there I see it undoubtedly in encouragement, teaching and yes at times admonishment and even sometimes merriment and I see the love flowing behind those times so much more than I ever did! Ah, to know from whence REAL love comes from, whether delivered by family or friends, what a joy!

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