In Mark 4:26-29 Jesus said “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Through this parable Jesus teaches us what it’s like for someone who’s lost to enter the kingdom of God. And the lesson here is that it’s a process.
- First the seed sprouts.
- Then the stalk pokes through the dirt.
- Then a head forms on the stalk.
- Then a kernel forms on the head.
- Finally, after the first four stages are complete, the kernel ripens and is ready for harvest.
Coming to faith in Jesus is not an event, it’s a process. And this truth has far reaching implications for how we ought to go about trying to lead someone into the kingdom of God. Many of our approaches aim at bringing someone from perdition to salvation in five minutes or less, but this totally ignores Jesus’ teaching in the parable of the growing seed. This is lazy evangelism. A farmer would love to skip the investment of time and energy necessary to produce a crop, but that’s not how farming works. In the same way, some Christians would love to skip the investment of time and energy necessary to build trust, but Jesus says: This isn’t how it works.
Pray for your lost friends. Spend time with your lost friends. Work hard to find common ground. These three things will build the trust that needs to be present for effective evangelism to take place.