A Shovel and a Pile of Sand

“He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)

It all begins with a shovel and a pile of sand. Fill five wheelbarrows with sand, fill three more with gravel, add some water and cement, and start mixing it with a shovel. When you get a lumpy, soggy pile of cement, scoop it into a metal machine that will press it down and squeeze it out. The end result of this forty-five minutes process of manual labor? Thirty cement blocks.

I learned how to make blocks while on a mission trip in Nicaragua. At first this labor seemed insignificant compared to sharing the gospel. But in order for children to hear about Jesus, they need to go to school. In order for them to go to school, they must have a decent building made of sturdy cement blocks, and in order to have blocks, you have to make them … one shovel-full at a time.

It is the same with evangelism. So often we forget about making blocks and want to start preaching in the church building. Instead of planting seeds, we want to begin at harvest season. We tend to think of sharing the gospel as something that we do to convert people, but the harvest is only ready after months of tilling, fertilizing, planting, picking weeds, and watering.

Sharing the gospel is much more than getting people to confess and repent. Sometimes it is not even planting seeds, but tilling the soil in preparation to plant seeds. Sharing the gospel is about building relationships, encouraging the weak, standing up for the oppressed, offering to lend a hand, or being there to listen and love. It all begins with a shovel and a pile of sand.

Thought for the day: Small acts of kindness and service make a big difference in the kingdom of God. What can you do today to prepare fields or plant seeds?

Ashli Roussel


Ashli Roussel, a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Harding University, is passionate about sharing the truth and love of the Lord through writing. She loves camping, running, playing the piano, and participating in missions. Most of all, she is passionate about knowing, following, and serving her Lord and Savior. Without Him, her stories would mean nothing.

Ashli has battled and overcome an eating disorder, which God used to teach her great truths about who He is and how He is involved in our struggles. Now she desires to comfort others with the comfort that she has received from God. Keep an eye out for Ashli’s regular articles on iBegat.com! (read more…)


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