By Carrie Lowrance, Crosswalk.com
One of the greatest things we can do as Christians is to sow into each other and unbelievers. This could be anything from a good deed to a word of encouragement or love. Then, letting go and letting God do the rest in His timing.
What Does it Mean to Sow a Seed?
In the Christian faith, sowing a seed means to plant a seed of the spirit into a person's life. We do this by sharing our love for people and teaching them what the Bible says. By doing this, we also proclaim our faith in the Lord, that he will nurture it and grow it as he sees fit and in His timing.
"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." (Galatians 6:9, NLT)
Who Can We Sow Into?
We can sow into many people, like our spouses and children. We can sow into our friends and coworkers. Those who serve us like doctors, dentists, mail carriers, baristas, servers, veterinarians, etc. We can also sow into those who serve our children, like daycare teachers, primary and high school teachers, and bus drivers. There are people everywhere who need Jesus.
Some people already have a relationship with him and need some encouragement or guidance. Other people may not know Jesus, aren't sure about the Christian faith, or need a kind and encouraging word to remind them they are loved.
How Can We Sow Into Others?
1. Pray over them and with them. Sit down and listen to your kids and what is going on in their lives. Then pray with them and over them about the good and the bad.
2. Encourage them. Wish them luck on their next test or put a note of encouragement in their lunch box or duffle bag if they play extra-curricular sports.
3. Share a piece of advice or about how you handled a similar situation. This is a great way for them to learn from you and how to handle things in a way that shows a Christ-like life.
4. Write them a letter about how proud you are of them and encourage them for the road ahead. Sending them a text or an email is also an option to do this.
5. Share a book, movie, or song they can relate to in order to build them up or share advice. Sometimes, kids have to see something from a different perspective before they will listen.
1. Thank them for everything they do for you and/or your kids. It is important to thank our spouses for all they do for our families, the same way we thank the Lord for all he does for us.
2. Encourage them. If they have a stressful day ahead full of travel, meetings, or carpooling everywhere, give them a nugget of encouragement. Something like, "God is with you wherever you go, have a great day," or "You have this, and God has you. It's going to be an awesome day."
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT) tells us: "Do not use foul or abusive language. Let everything be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."
3. Be their cheerleader. Does your spouse have an interview, a big meeting, or a big decision they have to make? Then pray with them and over them about it. Ask for God's wisdom and discernment to hear His voice. In addition, share Bible verses that apply and, if possible, a story about a decision you had to make and how you handled it. Let them know you support them, no matter what decision they make.
Sowing Into Others
There are so many ways to sow into other people's lives, especially in today's world. Here are some great ways to sow into others.
1. Listen. Make a lunch date with a friend or family member and listen during your conversation. This means turning off your phone and blocking out all other distractions. Focus intently on what they are telling you and listen with not just your ears but your heart as well. If needed, share some advice about a similar situation that you have been in.
If a stranger shares something personal with you, take a few minutes and listen. We live in a fast-paced world that makes it hard to connect with others. Perhaps the grocery store cashier is having a tough day and needs to vent for a moment. A mother in your mom's group could be experiencing a health scare. Offering a kind word could make a difference for your favorite coffee shop's barista.
Take the time to listen to these people and then show them love accordingly. Empathize with that cashier and tell them you hope their day gets better. Hug that mom who is scared out of her wits for herself and her family. Give the barista a kind word and tell them they are doing a great job.
A few months ago, I was at Walmart checking out, and my total was $10.10. The lady who manned the self-checkout saw my total and reminded me that in John 10:10, the Lord reminds us he came to give us life abundantly. I had a lot on my mind that day, and her comment turned my whole mindset around.
"The thief's purpose is to kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (John 10:10 NLT)
2. Spend time with children. If you are friends with single moms and dads (and you know them well), take some time to spend with their children. You can sow into their lives by spending time with them, teaching them, having conversations, showing them extra love, and letting them know they are valued. It shows their parent's love, too, in that they can have some much-needed downtime for a few hours.
Another option would be to join an organization that matches boys and girls with adult mentors.
3. Spend time with those less fortunate. There are so many reasons people become homeless. Many think it's because they are all drug addicts, alcoholics, and have mental health issues, which isn't always true. Yes, those things are a factor, but sometimes people fall on hard times and can't do anything about it. Because of this, people's self-esteem and self-worth take an enormous hit, and it can be hard for them to come back.
Volunteering at a homeless shelter or joining a homeless advocacy group is a great way to sow into these people's lives. Take the time to get to know these people and their stories. Encourage and love them by letting them know they have worth and value and are loved. Your words and actions will show the love of Jesus, and you may get the perfect opportunity to witness, too.
4. Get involved. Volunteer to show up for your youngest child's holiday party at daycare to help. (Many times, teachers are by themselves.) When I worked in daycare, it was awesome when a parent would show up to help at a party, and it was much appreciated.
Hold the door for a delivery driver carrying packages into a business. Strike up a conversation with your hairdresser, doctor, dentist, or dental hygienist and listen or look for ways to sow into them. Tell someone to "have a blessed day." Leave your favorite Christian (fiction or non-fiction) book somewhere random for someone to pick up. (Think little libraries in your area or donate a copy to the library.) Volunteer to go with your child's high school basketball or football team when they have away games to help.
There are a million ways you can get involved and sow into people. Showing up and helping. Smiling and telling someone to "have a blessed day." Leaving a book for someone to read that may change their entire outlook on Christ and possibly their life will speak volumes to people.
5. Spend time with older adults. Spend some time in a nursing home with the residents. If you have a talent, share that. Sing to them, read to them, and do things they like. Sometimes, they are lonely, and a friendly face each week would be a welcome sight. Talk with them, learn their stories, and share with them. This is a great way for you to sow into them with love and for them to sow into you with their wisdom from lessons learned in life.
We can sow into other people's lives in many positive ways. Take some time to impact someone by showing the love of Jesus today.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
Video credit: ©RhondaStoppe/SWN