#DailyDevotion There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute Or We Trust The Holy Spirit
Mark 4:26-29 26“God’s kingdom,” He said, “is like this: A man will sow seed on the ground. 27He will sleep through the night and get up for the day, and the seed will come up and grow, although he doesn’t know how. 28The ground by itself produces grain, first the green blade, then the head, then the full wheat in the head. 29When the grain is ready, he swings the sickle, because it is time to cut the grain.”
This parable along the preceding parable of the sower and the one that follows all go together. They teach different things for sure but they have common elements. What they seem to have in common is the kingdom of God, the Word, and mystery.
Now one of the most fantastic hoaxes foisted upon the Church in last few decades is the Church Growth Movement. P. T. Barnum is thought to have said, “There’s a sucker born every moment.” It has been and continues to try to teach the Church of God that if it just practiced sound marketing principles particularly from the no longer divine Harvard Business School, it would grow. In many places attendance and church rolls did increase. Unfortunately it was mostly shuffling chairs around on the Titanic. What I mean is this, why did be buy into this hoax in the first place? Fear. Fear plain and simple. We saw our attendance and membership rolls on the decline. Would our congregation survive or would become like the church museums in Europe? Certainly there was and is some desire to bring people to Jesus. But bringing people to faith in Jesus cannot be done with marketing techniques no matter how sanctified.
Now that I got that off my chest, let’s look at this parable. It is about God’s kingdom. What does Jesus use to illustrate God’s kingdom? A man who sows seed on the ground. Already like the parable of the sower. After sowing the seed he goes to sleep and later, without him doing much more than watering it, possibly, the seed comes up and he doesn’t know how. It’s just the way it works. There may be smarter people than me who study this in detail but I don’t know if we really know how it works. Certainly we see to know what is going on now, but I’ve never read a paper that really tells me how it works. It’s a mystery. Finally the plant grows up like God designed it to do and then there is the harvest.
The LORD Jesus Christ has his Church preach and teach the Word and administer the sacraments. Through these means people come to faith by the power of the Holy Spirit and his Church, i.e. the kingdom of God, grows. It is totally and completely dependent upon the Holy Spirit. He makes Christians when and where he wills. We should make sure then that what we preach and teach is according to his Word (for only the pure Gospel does the Spirit work). Now I’m not saying we, as Church members, not intentionally go out into our communities and share the good news of Jesus with people. We need not fret about not getting it right when we share the Good News of Jesus. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. (Luke 12:12) What I am saying is we need not fear our congregations dwindling down to nothing. If we are teaching and preaching the Word of God rightly and administering the sacraments according to Christ’s institution, then it is totally up to God the Holy Spirit if people come to faith, much less join our congregation and make financially better off. There is an elect group of People God has chosen to save. Not one of them will be lost. We have God’s promise on that.
Lord Jesus Christ, we pray, use us to bring your Good News to people so they may hear, believe and be saved. In your precious name we pray. Amen.