There are few things in life besides death and taxes for which there is an absolute guarantee.
We are given some sort of a guarantee on almost everything we purchase, but that guarantee is only for the replacement of the product should the one you purchase be defective in some way.
There is no guarantee that whatever you purchase will do exactly as it was described. The manufacturer only guarantees that they will satisfy you.
Sometimes that may mean more than one exchange, or a long drawn out time of working through the gatekeepers at customer service.
We have become so accustomed to this, that when we are given a guarantee we usually think, “Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard all that before. We’ll see.”
We unwittingly take that same thinking to the word that God speaks.
We give mental assent to its veracity, but we’ve got one foot out the door just in case we get disappointed.
Guarantees just don’t mean much to us anymore.
However, we should not take that attitude with God’s word. When God gives us a guarantee we should be able to trust in, cling to, and rely on that word without question.
Let’s see if we can discover a reason why we may not always do that.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
God puts a guarantee on the process of His word accomplishing that which He purposed with such a word.
He says that it shall accomplish what He wants and succeed in its purpose.
Sometimes we may miss the purpose of something simply because of how we may view it.
For instance, in this passage the word is compared to rain and snow watering the earth. Is that how we normally view precipitation?
Are we not more prone to seeing the negative aspects, the inconvenience of precipitation?
Awww, man. It’s gonna be slick. It’s gonna be muddy. It’s gonna be nasty.
That is certainly one way to look at it.
Why not instead of looking at how it may be an inconvenience, think of how beneficial it may be?
If we could get our grass seed out just before a good snow, how much better would our lawn be?
Rain and snow are quite beneficial to the earth and that is beneficial for us. But it is not an immediate benefit. It takes time.
It is this aspect of a process that we have grown to dislike. We want everything NOW!
Sure. We are okay with the things we KNOW take time, like planting and harvesting; but there are other things to which we may not apply the same thinking.
I believe one of those areas is the effectual working of the word of God.
We want to see immediate results whenever the word of God is shared.
If we are talking with a friend who is a pre-believer, we want them to change their mind right now while we are talking with them. But they seldom do.
Jesus used the analogy of a seed in more than one instance as He tried to show the inner workings of the kingdom of God.
One of the most famous is the parable of the sower and the seed.
And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. …Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
We know the story. Seed was scattered everywhere—some on rocky ground, some on thorny ground, some off to the side, and some on good ground.
The disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable to them, so He did.
He said the seed is the word of the kingdom; that is, the word concerning the kingdom.
Whenever we talk with someone about what we know and believe about the Lord, we are sowing words concerning the kingdom. They are seeds that are being planted in their heart.
There is no need for us to try to convince them through any sort of reasoning process, any sort of logic, or whatever.
We just speak truth and let the seed fall where it may.
That is one of the important points of the parable that many miss. Preachers often tell us that we are to go out and prepare the soil in some manner before we can sow the seed.
That makes sense from our perspective of looking on the natural world; but that is not what Jesus said. He said to scatter the seed. Some of what you do will find a good place to rest. Other seed may not.
He said nothing about our being concerned with our sowing. Just sow. Just spread the word, the seed. Scatter it everywhere you can and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest.
Doing it this way takes away any attachment to outcome you may have. What will be will be; and the sooner you can reconcile yourself to that fact, the easier it becomes to spread the seed of the word.
Sometimes we are not able to tell if the seed is even growing, which is also something to which Jesus alluded.
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.
As humans, we have learned enough in our short time here on earth that we are not to dig up the seed to see how it is doing.
You probably did a project in grade school of putting a lima bean in a glass of water to watch the sprouting process. It only takes about three days for the bean to break open and begin to sprout.
Kids learn about planting and growing from this little exercise. It takes time.
Do we know HOW it happens? Not necessarily. We could find out if we really wanted to know, but most of us just want to see a bean plant come up out of the ground.
Most of us just want to see our friends come into the things of the kingdom like we have.
Give it time.
Some plants may take only three days to germination, but others can take weeks—some even years.
Kingdom growth is no different. Give it time.
There is one other very important aspect of seed growth that Jesus mentioned. This is probably the hardest one for us to accept.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
When you put a seed into the ground, as the process of germination begins, the seed looks like it is dying. It gets wrinkled and crumbles and falls apart.
We often see this with someone after we have shared the truths of God’s word with them.
Their life falls apart.
We may see them become mean, angry; or they may become addicted to some life-altering substance. Any number of things which to all outward appearances would indicate everything we tried to do is lost, wasted.
Where is our faith when something like this happens? Are we only able to believe when we see results?
Jesus spoke to this when He showed Himself to Thomas. Thomas wasn’t in the room the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection.
He told them he would not believe unless he could see and touch the risen savior. When Jesus came the next time, He showed Himself specifically to Thomas and said,
“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Believing without seeing is an important part of an active faith.
In fact, that is the very definition of faith given in Hebrews.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Therefore, whenever we share some truth we may understand concerning the kingdom of God, we should not automatically begin looking for results.
That’s what is meant when by the phrase “attachment to outcome.” We are not to have an attachment to any sort of outcome.
Faith believes in the process. In fact, faith KNOWS that the process has begun and there will be a positive outcome.
God says that His word will not fail to accomplish His purposes. It will do the very thing for which it was purposed.
It may take time, which for us may seem interminable, but not so with God.
The Lord told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations before he ever had a child. I’m sure Abraham did what was necessary, but it took Sarah 25 years to conceive Isaac.
God put it on the heart of Moses to set Israel free from Egyptian bondage, but it took 40 years for Moses to give up his attachment to outcome and method for that to take place.
God took 4,000 years to get the earth ready to receive Jesus.
Time is our problem, NOT GOD’S. He inhabits eternity where there is no concept of time. It is always an eternal NOW.
The seed that you may plant in someone’s life could very possibly sprout overnight, but that is not the usual pattern.
Allow for the working of the Holy Spirit to bring forth the fruit in the proper season.
We can operate with the guarantee of God’s word that what you plant will bring forth.
Your ONLY responsibility is to scatter the seed.
You do that every time you make some comment about what you believe.
May the Lord make you aware of your opportunities to send forth the seed He has given you to spread around.