Seed on the Hard Soil
Part of my daily routine is a morning walk. This gives me a chance to pass out tracts, engage with neighbors, and of course get exercise. Along one of the roads where I walk is a rum shop, that seems to be filled all day with individuals who are either drunk, or in the process of making themselves drunk.
I do offer tracts to them when coming by and always say good morning. But to be honest I’ve rarely actually stepped inside of the shop itself. Part of this of course is not wanting to associate myself with that place, though if people saw me there it’s obvious my reason was to share the Gospel instead of drinking. The bigger reason is they like to give me a hard time.
Sadly the people who spend most of their time at rum shops enjoy sin. Because of this they like to beg for money (which I don’t give them), tell me Jesus was just a man or the Bible isn’t Scripture, and make blasphemous statements. Last week while there a man said four times I can say hello to Satan when I go to hell (he thought it was very funny).
To be honest I don’t respond to their statements because they won’t listen. I will try to answer one of their questions, and they will keep interrupting me, then ask five more.
In ministry there will always be hard soil. This isn’t always hearts that are “hardened” and completely refuse the Gospel. In fact more often it’s individuals like those at the rum shop who are enjoying their sin too much to listen.
The temptation when experiencing hard soil is to ignore those people, and go to those whose hearts are tender towards the things of God. This fits with the work of Christ who emphasized focusing His time and energy into a small group of disciples instead of the hardened hearts of religious leaders. At the same time, we must remember God calls us to share with all people.
It isn’t my job to decide which soil deserves the Gospel, its my job to scatter the seed of Gods Word far and wide
Last week I visited the rum shop and passed out four small copies of John and Romans. A few days later I came by again and offered a man there a tract. He stopped me and said “no the one you gave out two days ago.” It occurred to me that he had either seen me give out those booklets, or they had talked about it after I was gone. The Lord used that as a reminder that though fruit cannot be seen growing from the hard soil, He is still at work
This doesn’t mean we overlook discipling those whose hearts are tender, God leads us to fertile soil for a reason. But we are also called to sow His truth in the stony ground.