I hate to be redundant, but, as they say, repetition is a good teacher. While reading the following story (originally posted in November of 2005), consider where you are scattering the seed of the gospel, ...or is it still in the bag?
There was a land-owner who owned the land as far as the eye can see, no matter where you went. He gave his servant a large, abundantly full sack of seed, and told him to go out and sow it. The servant took the large, abundantly full sack of seed and went out-into the back yard. Although the master owned the land as far as the eye can see, the servant had come to think of the back yard as his own.
He set the large, abundantly full sack of seed down and dug up a plot of ground. He made it square, about 10 by 10; just right.
He dug up the soil and removed the sod. He tilled and added mulch and manure until the organic content was just right. He worked the soil until it was a pleasure to turn. Then he smoothed it all out; just right.
Finally, he made rows, straight and even. Each row was 12 inches from the last one, so he would have room to go between and pull weeds as the plants grew. He stepped back and surveyed his work with satisfaction.
At last he turned around and opened the large, abundantly full sack of seed. He reached in with his left hand and pulled out a handfull of seed and went to the first row. He planted 2-3 seeds per inch all along the row, covering the seed with the rich soil and tamping it down as he went. When he finished with the first row, he went on to the next and planted in the same way. He worked diligently in this manner, row after row, returning to the large, abundantly full sack of seed when his hand became empty.
When all the rows were properly sown, he closed the large, still abundantly full sack of seed, and stepped back.
He surveyed his work with great satisfaction.
He noticed that the sky was clear so he watered the plot.
As the days and weeks went by he watered the plot, aerated the soil, weeded the rows, and surveyed his work with great satisfaction. He put up a scarecrow to keep the birds away from the seed. He built a fence around to keep rabbits from eating the young plants. He even cut down a nearby tree because he noticed that it shaded his plot from the sun in the early afternoon.
As the weeks went by some of the seed rotted because of mildew or fungus in the soil. Some were left exposed by the rain or watering hose and were eaten by birds who were not fooled by the scarecrow. Some grew, but maybe their roots found the rocks that the servant had missed, or they were crowded by a weed that sprang up as quickly as they did; and they remained small and weak, and were scorched by the sun in the early afternoons. Some of the seed grew, strong and straight. These plants produced much fruit --40, 60, 100 times the little that was sown.
"This is what was written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46&47)
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
The Apostles respond in obedience, even when persecuted:
"The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." (Acts 5:41-42)