Jesus was a master storyteller. He told a lot of stories. Luke records most of them. Mark gives insight into the reach of his stories.
Jesus, for his part, let his listeners know that some of his stories, indeed some of his listeners would have a greater reach than others.
Most would get no lasting results at all.
Jesus Knew He Would Not Get Results
Jesus explained that some of his efforts would not produce the desired results
3-8 “Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted a seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.
9“ Are you listening to this? Really listening?
Jesus and the Pareto Principle
Jesus barely got better results than Vilfredo Pareto would have predicted. Problem is Pareto came nearly 1900 years after Jesus.
Wait! Maybe Pareto came to his conclusion from studying this parable. Though I doubt that.
Pareto was an economist. He noticed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He also apparently noticed that 20% of his pea pods contained 80% of the peas in his garden.
One pea, two peas, three peas …
Who counts peas in pea pods?
Jesus Knew How Much of His Effort Would Work
All things considered, Jesus knew that three out of four handfuls of seeds would not get his desired results.
Jesus also knew that he couldn’t just throw out four handfuls of seed and expect one of them to get great results “exceeding his wildest dreams.” Jesus, too, had to sow a whole field. Only then could he, too, get results.
Are you listening? Are you really listening?
Why Churches Fail at Evangelism
Too often the church fails at its marketing, um, evangelistic efforts for 2 reasons:
- The church doesn’t sow enough seeds.
- The church doesn’t sow enough seeds in a wide enough space.
If Jesus could get no better results than one in four, should we expect any different?
How many people in your church do how much of the work?
How many seeds has your church sown?