1.03.M The opportunity that being a health care student provides #2
Thinking about life as a student in healthcare
A unique aspect of many healthcare courses is journeying alongside the same group of people for several years. Some will become lifelong friends through the trials of assessments, exams and life’s difficulties. In fact, you will share an instantaneous bond even with uni acquaintances you meet many years later. The close atmosphere in our courses should be a fantastic opportunity for evangelism.
- Do your friends know you are a Christian?
- Have you avoided any situations where your faith has been relevant in uni-related discussions (class related or social)?
- What makes it difficult sometimes to talk to your non-Christian uni friends about Christianity?
What does God have to say?
Read Matthew 13:18-23:
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
The 'parable of the sower', as it is commonly titled, is told in Matthew 13:3-8 (also Mark 4, Luke 8), and explained in our passage.
There are four places that the 'seed' (Mark and Luke call it the 'word' of God in their accounts- meaning the ‘sower’ is representative of God in the story) can fall. The four places directly lead to four outcomes, only one of which is productive and fruitful- the 'good soil'. It is important to realise that the farmer sows the seed expecting that it bears fruit- or he would not plant it!
The parable (as it is told in v3-8) seems to indicate only a fraction of the seed fell on productive soil. Notice the size of the harvest in verse 23. A good-sized result from a diligent farmer in the Ancient Near East would be a crop of about 10 times what he sowed: in this case, the harvest is up to 100 times! The emphasis here is on what God can do- far more than we expect!
Putting it into practice
- Which of the four scenarios (the path, rocky ground, among thorns, good soil) best describes you at the moment? If you do not feel that you're in the 'good soil scenario', what practical changes can you make to move towards being fruitful?
- The “deceitfulness of wealth” (v22) can be a particularly tricky issue in our wealthy Western society.
- 1 Timothy 6 says “command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God”. Why does Jesus describe wealth as deceitful? How does putting our hope in God offer a better alternative?
- The passage in 1 Timothy continues: “command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share”. How does a ‘1 Timothy 6’ approach towards money help us to avoid the third scenario in our passage and be fruitful? What practical things can you do for others around you who are in need?
The harvest in verse 23 can be read as personal fruitfulness (recalling perhaps the fruit of the Spirit), and also a harvest in terms of spreading the good news of Christ to others in evangelism.
God wants all people to come to Him (see 2 Peter 3:9), and can indeed do far more than we can imagine to achieve this!
- In what ways has God called you to share His love with friends in your course? What might this look like practically? How can you work together with other Christians around you to make the most of your opportunity to share the gospel?
- Think again about the more-than-expected harvest from the scattered seed. How does being conscious of God's power to achieve this size of harvest change our perspective about, and our practice of evangelism? How does it serve as encouragement to us when we encounter difficulties or discouraging times?