Finding Common Ground
Tim Downs new book, Finding Common Ground (Moody Press), is subtitled "How to Communicate with Those Outside the Christian Community While We Still Can." The book takes a close look at the relationship between sowing and harvesting as it relates to our communicating with people and our culture.
Downs describes the concept this way: "By harvesting, I mean what we traditionally refer to as evangelism: the attempt to communicate the complete gospel message to a listener and to lead that person to Christ. By sowing, I mean the slow, gradual, behind-the-scenes work that prepares a listener - or an entire culture - to be able to hear the gospel. Many evangelicals, convinced that these are the last days, believe that we are living in the time of the Last, Great Harvest. In our enthusiasm for the harvest we have forgotten the role of the sower."
In the first chapter of his book, entitled The Parable of the Soil, he weaves a fascinating story about what would happen if a farmer would only worry about harvesting and never consider the need to sow. This entire first chapter is on Tim's web site at: http://www.sowing.net. Let me encourage you read this chapter.
In John 4, after speaking to the woman at the well, Jesus tells his disciples, "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest?' I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." This familiar passage is a call to be a witness where God has planted us.
However, we may forget to finish the passage. A few verses later Jesus says, "Thus the saying, 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor" (v 37). The 'hard work' is the sowing - preparing the ground, watering, tending - making good soil.
In future MMMs I will discuss some ways we can become good sowers.
Scripture: Matthew 13: 8,9 -- "And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear."
Action Point: Read the first chapter of Finding Common Ground on the web, where you can purchase the book if you wish.
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