We cannot force someone to hear a message they are not ready to receive,
but we must never underestimate the power of planting a seed.
As it says above, a message can be given, but it is possible that among those who are present, there will be someone who is unready to receive it. However, a seed may be planted; a thought, an idea, a concept, a piece of information that becomes relevant and important later, perhaps when a crisis or change in circumstances motivates recall of what was shared and is now seen as instructive and as providing good direction. While time continues to exist, and thus the opportunity that such existence allows for change, the germination of a seed in a mind and heart is possible. That is the hope with which those who share truth operate. For it often seems that their efforts fall continually on deaf ears and/or are seen by blind eyes.
Paying heed to truth and change is what God provides for in His providential patience. Note the message of 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is … patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” [I urge you to read the whole of 2 Peter 3, especially to learn what His promise is concerning the world.] It seems that many today are like those then who took for granted that they could be cynical and complacent about God keeping His promise. He gives a chance, but if men and women do not make the most of the opportunity, the day of judgement will be grim for them. Thus, those who share the truth continue to do so in the hope that planted seeds will germinate into repentance and obedience.
But many will not … and Jesus knew that this would be true. Yet, He still died to provide opportunity for the ungodly to repent and become godly. God’s love for all the world, as expressed in the sacrifice of His one and only Son, ought to have every man and woman of every generation on their knees expressing adoration, gratitude, and obedience to His will; yet multitudes live unwisely, failing to understand His will and failing to express authentic faith by doing what pleases Him.
Generous Jesus expressed incredible love in being the sacrificial Lamb. For, at the time of His death, no one was appreciating what He was doing. Even those who were closest to Him did not understand; not until He showed them the evidence of His resurrection. A lot of people will not undertake an effort unless they have some evidence or indication that their effort will issue in success or income. Others, even when offered pay for labor, will not do the work because they consider it an unpleasant task. How unpleasant was crucifixion?! Knowing that multitudes would not respond appropriately to His love, Jesus still obeyed the Father’s will and submitted to death by crucifixion.
Jesus knew that many would not respond appropriately. In one of His sermons, He said, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14). This, even though He has made the way known. [John 14:6]. In the same chapter of Matthew, He revealed that even good people would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they had “not done the will of the Father.” [7:21-23]. Then, the first chapter of Romans reveals that He knows that there are people who, despite the evidence of creation and His revelation of truth, persist in doing what is unrighteous and ungodly. [Romans 1:18-32]. By way of His inspired writer, Paul, He reveals that people “will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” [2 Timothy 4:4]. Earlier in that same letter to Timothy, God (through Paul) acknowledged that “in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” [2 Timothy 3:1-5]. What a catalogue of sorriness!
Jesus knew, and He knows. Nothing is hidden from Him. His truth is still knowable. But many ignore it, or, if they have learned it, still do not do it. On the basis of what Jesus and the inspired writers reveal, heaven will not be crowded. By His word, few enter.
Even though there are many who do not receive the truth, there can be among them, some who seem unready for the message. For them, the message may be like a seed, i.e., that which has to germinate and spring forth into acceptance and obedience. However, much will depend upon the kind of mind and heart they possess. Jesus categorized people into four classifications of receptivity. In His parable of the sowing of the seed of the Word of God, there are: 1. those who are deluded into believing devilish lies, 2. those who receive it joyously but then give up when they are challenged by difficulties, 3. those who hear, but give more attention to the cares, riches, and pleasures of life and do not develop as faithful followers. The fourth category is: those “who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” [Luke 8:4-13]. Jesus knows that the world for whom He was willing to die is divided into these four categories of hearts and minds. The seed can flourish in the heart and mind that is honest and good.
It is because we do not possess His insight, that we continue to speak and/or write and urge attention to be given to His Word. We cannot readily assess the kind of mind and heart that is in our audience. Thus, we sow the seed of the Word of God ….. hopefully. We must never underestimate the power of planting a seed.
“We cannot know the will of God if we are ignorant of His Word.” – A.W. Pink
- Frank J Daniels, pulpit minister & teacher