6. The same message can do two things. Obviously we all want to see a good crop showing evidence of seed penetrating good soil and bringing abundant life. But we should not be surprised when the same message brings two different responses. Remember that the same presentation of loving grace both won the hearts of some, and hardened the heart of one in John 13. It is like popcorn in a sizzling pot of oil: the same heat will bring one of two results – if the heat moves the heart of the kernel then the whole thing will turn inside out into beautiful tasty popcorn. If the same heat only has effect on the outside, then that kernel will turn into a tooth-breaking ball harder than iron, harder even than lego. Same heat, different result. The preaching of God’s grace in Jesus will bear these same results with people. (Click here for an earlier article on the subject of popcorn!)
7. Don’t be discouraged by lost seed. We should be saddened whenever anyone does not respond to the word of God, but don’t let it halt your ministry. We can dream of, and long for, and pray for a gloriously responsive crowd before each message we preach. But when you drive home after church and it was not quite what you had prayed for … don’t be discouraged. The kingdom spreads by the weakness of the word and that weakness will often be felt by the preacher in the weakness of their preaching.
8. Be thrilled by divine transformation. We should also not grow familiar with the gradual miracle of life transformation. Don’t lose sight of where someone was and what they are becoming now. Hopefully you have some people in your church that you can continue to be amazed at as you see the transforming power of the penetrated word in their lives. Jesus’ audience would have understood the three “failed” seed categories, but they would have been amazed at the idea of a hundredfold crop. Let’s be the same in word ministry – amazed in the right direction!