Being brought up to be a waste not want not sort of person – the kind with a mother who had a box labelled ‘Useless bits of String’ – yes, really, I like to get the most out of everything. That’s why last Christmastime I planted the seeds from my tangerine in a little pot on the kitchen window sill.
In quite a short time two seedings emerged. Despite being in the same pot with the same amount of sunlight and watering they are very different. One is obviously strong and healthy and with care will go on to become a strong and healthy tree and who knows may even produce fruit. The other is a rather weedy affair. It has only three leaves and can hardly be said to be thriving. But it hangs on in there and I won’t be the one to throw it away.
Today to my surprise I noticed a third seedling has emerged. It is tiny, still with the seed case clinging to its leaves – but it is there and it is alive.
I planted 5 or 6 pips. I don’t know if others will emerge. I thought at first of the parable of the sower, but these had received equal treatment – good treatment – yet each responded differently.
It’s like that when we share the good news of the gospel. Some will thrive on it, getting the full benefit, but others struggle. Some respond quickly, others take much longer. As I write this I am thinking of individuals in the church I go to. It is a growing church and we have quite a few people just now for whom it is all very new. One elderly gentleman told me recently that he had never been in a church in his life, but now attends regularly. Others come only occasionally, but they do keep coming. And there are of course those who don’t respond at all like some of my little pips.
We cannot control how people will respond to the gospel, but we still have a duty to each and everyone of them to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ. The rest is up to them, and of course the Spirit of God.