In one parable Jesus taught He shared how a farmer will plant seed and sometimes that seed will bear fruit in different degrees, 30, 60 and 100 fold. As pastors we are like that farmer. Much of what we do is planting seeds in people’s lives. Often times, like farming, the fruit of what we plant is determined by things outside of our control. Things like location, climate, soil, seasons, etc. Other factors are in a farmers control such as the quality of seed he plants, how well he tills the soil, understanding agricultural principles, etc. Even then there is no guarantee that a fruitful crop will occur as a farmer has no control over weather, pestilence, etc.
I believe that in many ways, the fruit of our ministry is determined by this 30, 60 and 100 fold principle. I also believe that sometimes some farmers are just better equipped, better gifted and better resourced to produce better crops than others. And as Pastors we should be OK with that. Not every basketball player can be a Michael Jordan or a Lebron James. In the same way, not every Pastor can be a Jack Hayford or Mark Driscoll.
Is it possible that as a Pastor your ministry will always be measured by the 30 fold harvest? In other words, perhaps the smaller number is all God intends for you to farm or care for because of reasons that may be out of your control. If so, expecting a hundred fold harvest may not be realistic and as a result set you up for frustration and disappointment.
Paul shared a very important ministry principle in II Corinthians 10:13- 16 when he wrote:
“But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.”
Notice how Paul balances vision with reality when he mentions that as ministers of the gospel we have each been given a measure or portion in which God has entrusted to us. Paul also refers to this as a sphere of influence that God has apportioned to each of us. Paul also cautions us about overextending or overreaching our boundaries and how other ministers of the gospel also have these spheres of influence which God has entrusted to them.
Let us be content in doing our very best but realizing that God gives some 30, others 60 and others still, 100 fold growth. We each have been given a measure of gifting which equates to a measure of responsibility in God’s kingdom. When we try to overextend or overreach these spheres we do everyone a disservice, especially ourselves. Simply put, it’s OK to be who God made you to be.
You can contact Dennis at: firstname.lastname@example.org