TODAY’S READING: Matthew 13; Luke 8
Many parables are actually better understood as metaphors or similes—short concise statements that the hearers immediately understood. The parables of the sower and the tares were exceptions in that they functioned more like allegories which Jesus needed to unpack. The center of both parables is the seed, the Word of God, and the center of reaching unreached peoples is the Word of God. Jesus is explained, in the power of the Spirit, through reference to the Bible. We cannot reach the unreached nor disciple them if we do not have the Bible in their heart language. Faithful Bible translation is at the heart of all missions, and today’s Bible passages remind us of some elemental missions principles.
The Word must go everywhere (Matt. 13:1–9; Luke 8:11). Central to missionary praxis is the wide sowing of the Word of God. Responsibility of the sower is wide. We are to cast the seed of the Word of God on every kind of soil; this is not considered waste. The responsibility of God is to change the soil, which He has done through history and does even now. But the missionary must share the gospel broadly, not look or wait for those outwardly responsive. Different levels of fruit are expected and appropriate, but every follower of Jesus is expected to constantly open their mouth (take up their pen, use their gifts) to communicate what the Bible says.
The Word must ever go out (Luke 8:40–45). It is telling that right after Jesus shared the parable of the sower, He illustrated His specific intention by taking the disciples on an exciting missions trip to set a non-Jew outside of Israel free. Then on the way home, a desperate woman pressed through the crowd to touch Jesus and He stopped to give her attention. The disciples protested. After all, the dead child of an important man laid languishing. They said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press you” (v. 45). In other words “Jesus, this is not a good time. It’s chaotic and confusing.” Jesus’ actions throughout demonstrate there is no bad time to share the gospel, that everyone should hear.
Some words take longer to grow than others (Matt. 13:31–32). Slow growth tends to be lasting growth. Rapid expansion has become a bit of a missions idol. We are told to pursue rabbit churches and disciples (those that multiply quickly), and not elephants (those that produce one child every three years). Yes, we want to believe for miracle accelerations and days of Pentecost, but we also want mustard trees, not weeds. Quick growth in and of itself is not helpful, for it does not last.
We will always deal with false words (Matt. 13: 24–30). The Word will always be rejected and offensive, resisted by false words easier to say and hear (v. 57). Jesus tells us not to be unduly worried, for He will sort it out in the end. He will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend (v. 41). For now, the missionary task is to ensure that there is nothing offensive to Jesus in our words or life and that we are diligent to get His words into every language by every means.
 Which does not insult the Godhead and undermine the gospel by removing familial or filial language