In three of the first four books of the New Testament, we find the account of the “Parable of the Sower” or as others identify it, the “Parable of the Soils.” In the parable, there are four types of soil and only one of the four produces the intended result of the sowing- a crop. Three of the four result in no plant or a plant that barely survives and produces little. Jesus explained that the four soils represent four possible reactions of the heart to the word of God. Only the ‘good soil’ embraces the word in such a way that it results in a life of faith in God expressing itself through love. Only one produces the intended result of sowing.
I’ve never done a scientific study, but a perusal of my years as a youth pastor supports the basic conclusion that three out of every four students who darkened the door of our youth ministry are not currently living a life of faith in God expressing itself through love. Roughly THREE out of every FOUR have left the faith or live with a faith that is on ‘life-support.’ During those years of youth ministry, I experienced times of profound sadness as I mentally placed the names of former students in the soil category they were exhibiting at that moment. And I remember times of discouragement based on the sheer volume of names in those first three categories. Many times I pleaded with the Lord for an answer to the question, “Why Father is it always a remnant? Why so few to walk through the narrow door?”
The current season of life and ministry is an exciting one. We’ve been blessed with great progress on our remodel project. God has enabled us to meet new contacts and deepen relationships with others in our city. God is doing miraculous things at the school and our kids are playing a significant part in that! This truly is an exciting season and we’re grateful for it. At the same time, it is a season of sadness because the “Parable of the Sower” has struck again – it seems that three out of four of those who were once walking with us in a journey of faith are no longer doing so. THREE in FOUR!
We continue to pray for them diligently. And, we resist the temptation to allow the pain of our sadness to keep us from sowing.