2/23/16: Ministry Math

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One-fourth, twenty-five percent, doesn’t seem like a very big return on the investment of time we put into our endeavors for the Lord.  If we have four children, we don’t want only one of them to be successful; we want all of them to make it. If we have 100 students, we certainly want more than 25 to pass. And if we work hard for $1,000 dollars, we expect to enjoy more than $250.

When it comes to the responses we can expect when we’re sharing the gospel with others, we could pessimistically view Jesus’ message in the parable of the sower as bleak. After all, in this story only one-fourth of those hearing will respond as we’d like. Mark 4:14-20 explains:

The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. (NKJ)

So we’ve got the wayside audience, the stony audience, the thorny audience, and the good ground audience. We’re to sow the seed toward every audience. But my goodness, you might be thinking, all that work living right, sharing testimonies, studying, memorizing, teaching, preaching, writing books, serving in the ministry, and only one-fourth respond – what a waste.

Wait a minute. There’s another math problem in this passage. Of the seed sown on good ground, Jesus tells us they “hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” So, perhaps just one in every four people to whom we sow the Word actually gets it; not to worry. Of the three who didn’t, there will be 30, 60, or 100 who will thanks to that one who received the Word we sowed. So by touching one out of four, we’re not actually reaching only twenty-five percent, God multiplies our work by 750% (when that one reaches her 30), 1500% (when that one reaches his 60), or 2500% (when that one reaches her 100).

So when we’re working with the numbers and wondering if our witness and outreach make a difference, remember God’s ministry math. Be encouraged and “sow” on.

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

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~ by sanewriter on February 23, 2016.

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