Tomorrow morning I’ll preach just my second Sunday at First Church. The scripture for the morning is the passage from Matthew 13 sometimes called the parable of the seeds and sometimes the parable of the soils. Without giving my entire sermon away, the parable deals with both the responsibility of the one sowing seed and the variety of the way people react to the message of the gospel. (To get the full sermon, come join us at First Church tomorrow, or check out the website later in the week to watch the video. )
But one of the points of my sermon tomorrow will be to talk about the need not only to open our own hearts to the work of the gospel in our lives, but also the need to have a wide vision for the ministry of the Church. (capital “C” Church, not just Indianola First.)
Often when we plan for the Church we think to small. We think about growth in ministry of the Church looking like what we are already doing, only bigger. Our own human limitations limit the scope of God’s vision to do more, much more than you and I can imagine or dream. So we often cast small visions, or at least visions that appear manageable.
But God’s visions for us are never manageable. God’s visions for the Church are like the Pentecostal Sunday rushing wind that swept over the Disciples and sent them out into the streets preaching in every language. It is not something we control. It is not something we manage. God’s vision for us is more like a wave we ride. It is our job to figure out where God’s wave is going, and jump in!
God’s vision for humanity is that we not just scatter the seed where we are comfortable, were we have scattered before, and in the way we have always scattered. God’s vision for us always calls us to cast the grace of love of God further, wider, bigger, bolder, with joy and grace.
When people ask me why I’m a Methodist Christian my first answer is always, “grace!” The vision that captured people like John, Susanna, and Charles Wesley was a vision of God’s grace sweeping over a nation like a mighty rushing wind or a wild fire.
However big you think God’s love is, it is bigger. Whomever you think God loves, God loves even more, wherever you believe God wants us to go to share grace with people, God wants us to go further.
Until everyone has had the opportunity to know and experience God’s grace and love and seen that love and grace in the hearts and minds of God’s people we must scattered the seed wider, wider, always wider.
The call to scatter the gospel into all the world is so bold and so big that it must consume our efforts as the Church. More on that in another post. 🙂