Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reap What you Sow...

"If you save a life, you must take responsibility for it."

This quote is from the theatrical trailer for the movie "Defiance", directed by Edward Zwick and due to release here tomorrow. While the trailer has piqued my interest in the movie itself, it is the above quote that captured my attention the most. (trailer seen here: link)

It occurred to me as I heard this, how powerful that statement really is. If you save someone, you are now responsible not only for yourself, but also for that person and everything that comes with it. If someone wanted to interpret it to mean you are responsible for their lively hood, their actions, their well-being, and their protection, they absolutely could interpret it that way.

So the question is, are you willing to take up that mantel?

What about all of the Christians out there? In Christ saving us from the depths of hell, is he now not responsible for our lives? Does he not say in his word that he will take care of us, that he has a plan for us, that we are not to worry about ourselves, because he is in control and we are in his hands? Pretty amazing isn't it? Pretty cool to know that someone else has responsibility for us, and we are not on our own.

Yet, how many of us follow Christ's example in our own lives? When we become "fishers of men," and we baptize people in the name of the Father Son and Holy Ghost as commanded of us in the Great Commission (found in Matthew 28), when speak to others about God, do we follow through? In the parable of the sower Jesus tells us the story of a farmer who scatters his seed. This parable has been told countless times and most of us have heard it more than we are happy about. We know that all the seeds are eaten, choked out, or withered away except for the seeds that land in good soil. The good soil signifies people on Earth who let their hearts be opened by God and become born again Christians.

I think, however, that as many times as we have heard the message, we are forgetting an extremely important part.

Jesus says that "The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy" Matthew 13:20 How many of you have shared the gospel with someone who has received it with great joy? Who has not shared in the joy of a lost soul come to Christ? But wait, this is a seed that has fallen on rocky ground... that seed does not become a plant!
"But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful" Mathew 13:21,22
So you see, not everyone who receives the message with joy, keeps the message with joy.
When we scatter the seed, do we know where those seeds have fallen? Of course not, we are not the omniscient ones. God is! Do we not then have a responsibility to keep checking up on those we "lead" to Christ? Do we not have a responsibility to make sure that those share the message with, who receive it with joy in their new infant faith, are not left to face the sinful deceit and persecution of the world by themselves? Who of us have not had rough places in our life that, without the encouragement of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, would not have fall away and despaired.

Too much of our focus is on "Saving" people, and not enough on following through with that. What good will it do if you preach on the streets and "save" ten unbelievers if the seed that you scattered landed in a rocky or weedy place?

Matthew 28:19,20

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

So go as God commands, and spread his word, plant his seed, sow the peoples of the Earth, but follow through. Continue to teach those you "lead" to Christ even after they have accepted the message so that they will not be choked out, or wither away. Take responsibility for those whom God uses you to save.