Does a farmer always plow and never sow?
Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting?
Does he not finally plant his seeds—
black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat—
each in its pro A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin;
rather, it is beaten with a light stick.
A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin;
instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail.

Isaiah 28:24-25,27 NLT

I saw a Verizon commercial the other day that I loved. There was a group of diverse people on a beach having a party around a bonfire. They were temporarily halted because the host couldn’t get a signal to stream music. The Verizon guy shows up and introduces a girl who has a new iPhone and a great provider. The host starts streaming heavy metal music. The Verizon guys stops him and says, “Read your audience!” The guys switches to soft funk and the crowd begins to groove.

When we are trying to reach a diverse group of people we have to read the crowd to discern which tool we use to reach this plentiful harvest.

  1. We first have to plow up the ground. Before we can plant seed we have to break up the ground. We have to figure out a way to engage people  and break up barriers to them receiving the good news. God’s word is a seed and unless a seed goes into the ground and dies it remains just a seed. We break open the ground of communication by showing people that we care about them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  2. You don’t just keep plowing without planting seed. At some point we have to share the Gospel with the people we interact with. When the seed goes into the plowed field it’s able to bear fruit in time! When you find good, soft and fertile ground it’s time to sow a seed in it. Seed not only represents the good news of Jesus in the heart of people seeking God but it also represents sowing our financial seed into worthy endeavors. Not only should you sow into your church but also sow into people when God leads you to do so.
  3. Using the right tool to reap a harvest. How do you get out of people what you’ve sown in them? It takes different strokes for different folks. Because there is diversity in the people you are trying to reach you have to read your audience. You can’t treat each person the same. Some people are delicate and the wrong words could break them. Something you say could trigger them and cause more damage than good. You don’t use the same stick for threshing dill seed as you do wheat. Jesus rebuked Peter and called him “satan” to get the best out of him, but spoke gently to a woman caught in the act of adultery. He knew Peter could handle his direct roughness to make him a better leader but he knew he would crush this woman who had been used and abused if he spoke too harshly. You have to read your audience before you reed your audience. A reed was often used to thresh out the fruit from delicate plants. You have to know who you’re talking to before you try to bring the best out of them. 

Today think about who you are talking to. Aretha Franklin said it best:

You better think (think) think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah, think (think, think), let your mind go, let yourself be free

Before you talk to somebody T.H.I.N.K.
T – is it True?
H – is it Helpful?
I – is it Inspirational?
N – is it Needed?
K – is it Kind?

Dear God-

Help me to engage people outside my circle of comfort in meaningful conversations. Help me to cultivate my relationships with conversations filled with grace and proper seasoning. Show me how to sow good seed and how to bring the best out of people without tearing them down. Show me how to speak truth in love and handle people in a responsible way.

In Jesus Name’