This article was published in the September to December 2015 issue of Rapport magazine.
The Parable of the Sower has a vital message for today as Barry Kissell explains …
Mary and I were staying in the Caribbean Island of Barbados. We planned to move onto St Lucia and then north through the islands. One afternoon was particularly hot and I went to our room to cool off. I turned on the television and an American network were reporting on a tornado which was developing and threatening a city called More in Oklahoma.
Fast travelling tornado
We were told that the tornado was two miles wide and travelling at 200 mph and that once it landed people had just 15 minutes to find shelter. I felt a great sense of panic. As I watched the tragedy unfold I saw something happening in real time being superimposed vividly in my imagination by something that will happen at a future time. It was the future coming of Jesus.
I thought that if any of us had been in Oklahoma and known the facts about the coming tornado we would have warned everyone we met. But how can I warn people about the future coming of Jesus? In the first scripture I committed to memory, Jesus said to his disciples:
‘And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me …’
Paul wrote that:
‘… when the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.’
2 Thessalonians 1:7
As I watched the tornado land, I saw that some people lived and some died, that is how the scripture foretells the coming of the Lord Jesus – some will die and others will live. As I saw the tornado’s devastation unfold my thoughts were mingled with the present reality and the future coming of Jesus. I could pray for the victims of the tornado but what about the coming of Jesus and the impending judgement of the world?
As I pondered this, I heard the Spirit say: ‘Tell the Church to broadcast the seeds.’
In the aftermath of what I heard, I thought immediately of the parable of the sower. The sower did something, he went and sowed the seed, which is Jesus calling his people. I noticed how the seeds were broadcast irresponsibly and indiscriminately, remembering that seeds were an expensive commodity. Jesus says that the seed is the word of God which is to be sown when the situation presents itself.
The following day we were in St Lucia in a taxi going to our hotel. The road passed a large cemetery where the white marble glistened in the noon day sun. I started to talk with the driver who told me that it was the main cemetery on the island and most people were buried there. I told him that Jesus said an amazing thing about death and dying that, if we believed in him, at death he would raise us up and we would never die eternally.
He said that he had not heard that before. Suddenly I realised that what was happening was what Jesus meant about sowing the seed. I had no idea where it had fallen.
I was standing on a beach next to a man who drew my attention to the fantastic light being reflected on the sea by the setting sun. I entered into his amazement and we chatted generally for some time. I then asked him if he knew that Jesus said that he was the light of the world and that if we follow him we will not walk in darkness, but we will have the light of life. He said that he had never heard that before. I realized that the seed had fallen.
As we travelled through the islands I had so many opportunities to sow the seed among all types of people. One evening I was in a hot pool with a Jewish man from New York City. He asked me what I did and I told him I was a Christian Pastor; he responded by telling me that he was a Jew.
We chatted for some time during which I told him that my father was Jewish. The seed for him was simple. I told him that your whole life changes when you take Jesus into your life as Messiah. It was so natural to say and we ended up by recounting our visit to the turtle farm.
Listening to God
One of my joys of life whilst on holiday is to get up early, go to the hot pools, swim a few lengths and take a prayer walk along the local beach. On this particular early morning I was in the pool and felt I heard the Lord say to me to write out Psalm 24 and meditate upon it as I walked up the beach. I had walked for 15 minutes up the beach, when I saw a couple coming towards me wading in the surf.
The man came over and asked me what I was reading. I told him a psalm. He had never heard about psalms. I said that they were songs of praise to God. I asked him if he would like me to read it to him.
On my return walk I met him again – he stopped and said: ‘It’s amazing that the Lord is mighty in battle and involved with us in such ways in our lives’. The seed had fallen.
As I watched the tornado’s devastation unfold, my thoughts were mingled with the coming of Jesus. What can I possibly do? For the victims of the tornado I could pray. What about the coming of Jesus and the impending judgement?
I heard the Lord say: ‘Tell the Church to broadcast seeds.’
Barry and Mary Kissell
Barry and Mary Kissell have been involved in Christian ministry for over 40 years.They moved to central London 13 years ago and are involved in local churches near where they live and some of the newer ministries further afield.