God's Field


BY JORDAN SCOTT


The goal of the Great Commission is for God to have a faithful remnant of His Creation that worships and adores him forever in the age to come.[1] The primary way He has chosen to accomplish this is by His disciples making more disciples and teaching them to obey all that He has commanded them.[2] It’s simple.

“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”[3]

Good soil yields fruit. But what type of fruit should we be looking for? The answer to this question will determine how we define successful disciple-making and will subsequently shape our methods of achieving that success. If the fruit we are hoping for is the fruit of the Spirit[4] (morality), we will be satisfied with disciples who behave in a respectable and mature manner. But is that the “fruit” this verse is referring to? Perhaps “good deeds”? Of course, good deeds are something we want to reproduce, but is that the specific type of fruit this verse is referring to?

Verse 18 says that the seed planted is the word of the Kingdom—the Gospel. We can expect the fruit that reproduces will be the good news of the Kingdom. For those who hear the word and understand it—that is, obey it—they will harvest thirty times, sixty times, or even a hundred times what was sown. The fruit of an obedient disciple is more obedient disciples. Healthy disciple making will achieve multiple generations of reproducing Churches.

“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”[5]

Notice the generational language of the apostle in this verse. Paul (generation one) tells Timothy (generation two) to entrust what he learned to faithful men (generation three) who will be able to teach others also (generation four). That’s what it looks like to make disciples who make disciples. This is how the Bible defines good soil. If we are good soil, we will reproduce. Corn stalks grow in fields in the rich, dark earth of the midwestern United States. Disciples grow in God’s field, in good soil—in you!

“He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.”[6]

If we are God’s field, God’s fellow workers,
we should take care how we build.

“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”[7]

All of our work will be tested by fire. This is why it’s important that we define our fruit the way God defines fruit. We could spend twenty years on the mission field building wonderful relief programs for suffering people (which is amazing and biblical), and it could all be burned with fire.

If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”[8]

Our salvation is not at stake if we do not produce fruit. We should make that very clear. But, we are in danger of suffering great loss and wasting our life’s efforts building that which God may deem eternally insignificant. We will be saved, for sure, but only as through fire. When each man’s work is tested, if it survives, we will be rewarded.

May we all look to that reward and determine to produce the kind of fruit Jesus wants. May we participate in bringing Him worshippers to adore Him in the age to come. And may we be proud of what we built on this earth when we finally look Him in the eyes and hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”[9]


Jordan Scott lives in Iraqi Kurdistan with his wife and two children, where he serves as Director of Community Development. He can be reached by email at Jordan@faimission.org.



 

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[1] Revelation 7:9-10
[2] Matthew 28:18-20
[3] Matthew 13:18-23
[4] Galatians 5:22
[5] 2 Timothy 2:2
[6] 1 Corinthians 3:8-9
[7] 1 Corinthians 3:8-14
[8] 1 Corinthians 3:14-15
[9] Matthew 25:21-23