I recently heard a statistic that only 15-20 percent of those who accept Jesus as their savior and grow in their faith will ever go on to reproduce the process in others. This was at first a bit discouraging to me, though the speaker spun it as normal. I certainly would hope for better results than that.
Then I remembered the parable of the four soils. In this parable the farmer sows seed on four different soils. One soil (the path) is so hard that the seed is trampled underfoot and the birds eat what is left. No new life springs up. The second soil is the rocky soil. This soil produces new life, but it does not last because it has no root. The third soil is good soil, but choked by weeds. Though the seed produces life, there is no fruit because the plant is not properly nourished. The final soil is good healthy soil without weeds, and it produces a crop 60-100 fold.
The first soil represents those who hear the word and reject it. You will not find such people in your church.
The second represents those who accept the word, but quickly fall away and so produce no fruit. You may see such people in your church, but they will not last long. By the way, if you know such a person you may want to check up on them. Something has “uprooted” them, and they may need your help.
The third soil represents those who hear the word and accept it but get distracted by life and never produce fruit. Your church is probably full of such people. If you are one of them it is time to pull up your “weeds,” by removing the distractions that are keeping you from obeying the word and sharing your faith with others.
The final soil represents those who hear the word, remain in it, grow, and in doing so produce a massive crop.
The point is this, according to Jesus’ own parable, most people will never lead others to Christ or help them to grow in their faith. Most will never turn followers into leaders or students into teachers. However, those who do will do so in abundance. A 100 fold crop in 1st century times would be an amazing crop.
Not everyone we work with will prove to be fruitful, but those who do will be very fruitful. All we have to do is find the “good soil” and invest deeply in them.