You reap what you sow. This leadership principle is so pervasive throughout the Bible. I came across it again today in Hosea 10. The prophet said:

Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you (v. 12).

This verse of grace–God’s unmerited favor–stands out in the middle of all the verses around it that display God’s judgment on Israel. He is still offering mercy and love if they will just repent. Regardless of how much we go it alone, God still desires an intimate relationship with us. He wants to shower righteousness on us … if only we’ll turn back and seek Him.

Did the Israelites accept God’s grace? You probably know the answer:

But you have cultivated wickedness and raised a thriving crop of sins. You have eaten the fruit of lies—trusting in your military might, believing that great armies could make your nation safe! (v. 13).

This is so sad. The good seeds from verse 12 fell on hard and rocky ground, and did not produce good fruit. Instead, seeds of wickedness brought the fruit of sin and lies. Satan is the deceiver and the father of lies. His seed produced its fruit. Like crabgrass, Satan’s deceptions grow best in the hard ground of our hearts.

Father, do what you must to plow the hardened ground in my heart. Till up the hard places–the areas of my heart that I’ve left exposed, that I have not tended to. Father, I do not want to allow Satan to put down roots into those areas, and where he already has, Lord, I ask that you carefully till and then cultivate those areas for You. I ask You, my Father, to soften all those places of my heart that have become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Soften them and then plant Your good seed into my heart so that I may be able to produce a crop of righteousness for You. I know, dear Jesus, that I cannot bear fruit on my own. I desperately need You to do in my life what only You can do.

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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2 Comments

  1. Gabriel G Flomo

    September 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    How can i be a part of this group am from Liberia my email is gabrielflomo1992@gmail.com thanks hope to get a reply

    Reply

    • Michael C. Mack

      September 28, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      Hi, Gabriel. I appreciate your interest and partnership in God’s Kingdom vision! My ministry involves equipping small group leaders and church leaders to lead healthy, life-changing groups. I develop resources (books, studies, blog posts, articles, etc.), I do training in churches and at conferences, and I sometimes coach leaders and consult with churches. But I do not have a network of groups around the world.

      To be more a part of my ministry, I suggest you sign up for my email list here: eepurl.com/p30in.

      I also suggest you check out the Small Group Network, a ministry I’m working with. They have regional huddles of small group ministers all over the world. Check out their website here: http://smallgroupnetwork.com/.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply

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