No Sowing —No Harvest
Jesus used the parable of the sower to show the various ways the word of God is received. Sowing the seed was necessary before anything would grow, whether withered plants from shallow ground or healthy fruit from good ground.
Sowing was essential to any kind of harvest. So it is with gospel tracts: no sowing, no reaping. In the parable, much of the seed went to waste, but it still was worth the effort of doing the sowing to get a harvest from the good ground.
Some in the modern church have scorned soul winners who use tracts and street signs for appearing to relish it when sinners go to hell. We must be very careful of this attitude. True, Jesus was very pointed in His discussions with the scribes and Pharisees because of their hypocrisy and corrupt leadership. But, when he turned to the crowds following him, He groaned with compassion for them, who were lost without true spiritual shepherds.
When we pass out a tract, if it is to a “Christian,” it should be a challenge to a purer walk with Christ. If it is to an unbeliever, they come in two kinds: stony ground where the seed will not prosper and good ground where the Holy Spirit can nurture the seed into fruitful commitment to Christ.
If someone chooses to tear up the tract and put it in the trash, someday he may complain to Jesus on judgment day: “But... I didn’t know!” And Christ will remind him of the gospel tract that went into the trash. At that point, he can only hang his head without excuse.
If the unbeliever’s heart is touched, and he responds to the gospel, then the seed has fallen on good ground. Although we who plant tracts do not often see the fruit, the thousands of testimonies that have come to Chick Publications show that there are eternal results. Two striking stories come to mind: One Chick tract “seed” was planted in a remote Alaskan wilderness. A distraught young man stood on a cliff overlooking a wild river, determined to jump to his death. However, a flash of color in the dust at his feet caught his eye. He picked it up and discovered it was a Chick tract. The message forever changed his plans and several years later he called the Chick office to relate his testimony and that he now is a pastor.
Another man confessed that he had stolen a copy of Holy Joe from his attorney’s waiting room but did not read it right away. As a flight instructor, he later read the tract while waiting for his plane to be serviced to take his last flight. But the message changed his plan which was to take the plane to an adequate altitude, nose it over and plant it, full speed into the middle of the runway. Instead, he submitted his shattered life to Jesus, went back and paid the attorney for the tract and led a fellow instructor to the Lord with it.
So, when someone tells you that tracts don’t work, remind them that the Great Commission requires that the gospel be spread to everyone: believers, scornful unbelievers and responsive unbelievers. The Holy Spirit can then nurture the planted gospel depending on the softness of the hearts. We have seen letters from people who tore up the first dozen tracts they got, but one day, their heart was softened enough that the message could take root and they responded in faith.
But seed left in the warehouse cannot take root anywhere. Granted, some will be lost but there is always some good ground out there. However, without the seed, no life will grow. Proverbs talks about the farmer who gets no harvest because he was too lazy to work his field.
Will we “plant” enough gospel to get any harvest of Christ’s approval on judgment day? Remember, three tracts “planted” every day equals a thousand a year. And everybody who reads one makes a choice —with eternal consequences.