We live in a world where context is vital to our understanding. One of the reasons our society struggles with parts of the Bible is that it is set in an agrarian context. Jesus and Paul used that backdrop and crafted wonderful illustrations. Let’s look at a few and “recast them” from a rural ministry perspective today.
1) Galatians 6:7-8 : A man reaps what he sows.. If you plant corn, don’t expect to harvest wheat. If you infuse things like hatred and jealousy in a relationship, don’t expect anything different out of it.
2) Matthew 13:24-30: You cannot at first tell what a person is going to be like. Wheat and Tares (a kind of weed) look very similar until the plants are mature. The farmer instructed the worker to wait until harvest to get the maximum amount of wheat, so that none would be accidently destroyed. If you don’t know about a person, just wait. They will eventually show their true character.
3) Matthew 13:1-23: To get a good harvest, good soil is a requirement. In that process, some seed may go where it was not originally intended. That is fine. There may even be some really good looking things happen in the bad soil early on, but it will fade. But the importance is in the good soil.
Identify where to share the Gospel. Focus on receptive people, hungry for God’s word. Sometimes you will give the Gospel to someone less than receptive. That’s ok. Let the Holy Spirit do what only He can do.
4) Mark 11:12-21: The fig tree in this passage is indicative of the spiritual condition of God’s chosen people. Just as Jesus was looking for some early fruit from the fig tree, His trip to Jerusalem that day was to find some fruit of a spiritual relationship with God amongst the Jewish leaders of the time. He found neither. He found the temple of God being used as a platform for power and monetary gain.
There are so many more passages like the four above all over the Old and New Testament. I encourage you to look deep into God’s word and pull out His truth so that lives may be transformed!