One of the most rewarding processes in life is to teach the gospel, help someone obey it, work alongside them in the church, and grow in Christ together. In contrast, one of the saddest experiences is to teach the gospel and build a relationship only for the soul in need to leave the message behind and pursue other interests. Where there is unrivaled joy and satisfaction in a soul’s salvation, there is unmatched sadness when they reject the gospel. That is the joy and the sadness of the sower.
In Matthew 13, Jesus likened evangelism to a sower who sowed seed. The seed fell on four types of soil, and only one persisted in growing and producing a crop. Of the other three, one immediately rejected the seed of the gospel. The other two showed initial promise as they received the word, but after a short time, they became unfruitful.
Half the time, the sower experiences instant rejection or total acceptance of the gospel. But in the other half, the sower endures an emotional roller coaster. The initial acceptance of the rocky and thorny soils brings joy, followed by periods of stress where a battle is waged for the soul. Finally, the stress gives way to sorrow as the soul in need rejects the gospel and goes their way.
At that time, the sower is powerless to do anything but invite their return. The sower cannot force the soil to change or change the seed to one that better suits the present soil. For the sower, there is only a private moment of prayer and deep sadness over the soul that has chosen to remain lost. Then he continues sowing the kingdom’s seed, loving every soul along the way.