excerpted from his sermon on the four soils in Luke 8:1-15.
What are crops for? To eat, right? Not all of them,though—you’ve got to use some of the crop to replant the field for the next harvest, maybe even expand the field. In some ways, using it for our growth is the most important part. In other ways, going out and sowing farther and wider is, since without that, this will be the last year to get bread, and without food, where will growth be?
What’s it gonna be? Are you gonna say the church is about growth, or about evangelism? About our maturity as Christians, or about the good news, reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus yet and welcoming them in?
Reaching out to others makes us grow. Growth leads to sharing the good news. A fully mature field of wheat is producing more seed for more wheat.
So many of us—and I’ve been one of them—have been seeing this as a zero-sum between focusing on growth and maturity, or focusing on having wide-open doors and an active desire to see people outside our walls begin a life-changing journey. This is not a zero-sum, where living out one part takes away from the other. These are two sides of the same coin, and I believe that is how the Church—not just our church—is meant to be.
It is wrong of us to keep something this good, this full of joy and meaning, to ourselves. And it is equally wrong of us to focus so much on bringing new people into the Kingdom that, when those people ask, “What’s the next step?” we say, “I don’t know, figure it out yourself—I’ve got more souls to save.”
Brothers and sisters, this balance and blending is the full picture of what the Church, the body of Christ, is supposed to look like. True growth makes us want to reach out. Outreach makes us grow.
Listen to this sermon: