The FarmVille of Your Soul

It started as just plain and simple "Farm Town"…and you already know what I'm talking about, right? Its popularity skyrocketed and now there are over 73 MILLION people *digging* this game, happily clicking their mouses (mice?) on:


If you don't own a farm yet, you probably know at least a few folks who are completely addicted to the latest Facebook crack and trying to persuade you to be their "neighbor" so they don't feel like a loser.

Of course the million dollar question in my mind is…

Did Old MacDonald have a FarmVille? Ee-i-ee-i-----NO!

I guess I get the attraction: anxiously awaiting your prized pumpkins to sprout in real time and passionately seeking out the golden chicken so you can shame your friends…but seriously, if you really want to work on a farm and make real money, maybe try a trip to Kansas or Iowa?

Perhaps there is something else fascinating about planting a seed and seeing what happens - especially knowing that growth will equate with profit.

Did you know that Jesus was a "farmer" too? Facebook wasn't around in His day, but He still planted seeds:

He went back to teaching by the sea. A crowd built up to such a great size that he had to get into an offshore boat, using the boat as a pulpit as the people pushed to the water's edge. He taught by using stories, many stories.

"Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, so when the sun came up, it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.

"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"

When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories. He told them,
"The farmer plants the Word. Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them.

"And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

"The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.

"But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams" (Mark 4:1-12; 14-20).

Interestingly enough, Jesus uses a FarmVille illustration for what impact the words of the Bible have on people. What He is saying is that everyone's soul is just like a plot of soil, and when the good news about Jesus and His death on the cross enters their ears, that message is planted - and the result of the news on that person becomes evident in real time.

Result One: The amazing idea that this person can be freed of guilt and sin and find eternal salvation by trusting Christ doesn't even make it past the first day, because Satan uses doubt, fear, and lies to steal away the message.

Result Two: This person trusts Christ and gets excited about serving Him, but the first time they are ridiculed or come to the realization that being a Christian is costly, the seed of the gospel withers away.

Result Three: Being a Christian sounds like a great idea to this person, but soon the message that they can be free of their shallow, materialistic culture is choked out by the attractive weeds of media, music, and friends.

Result Four: This person allows the message of Jesus to grow from the core of their soul. The rocky soil is broken up, the weeds are pulled, and life is never the same in their spiritual FarmVille.

I bet if I asked you about your plot on FarmVille, you'd have an immediate answer. But let me ask you a more important question…how is your spiritual soil? Are you rife with plant life or dry as the Saharan desert? And imagine this - what if everyone was as excited and motivated to tell others about the gospel as they are about FarmVille? Ironic, isn't it, that we want neighbors in a game, but we sometimes don't care about the people who may or may not be our neighbors in heaven.

So the next time you're plantin' and harvestin' your crops, remember that there is a much more important activity going on. This one doesn't get you coins, but it does "produce a harvest beyond [your] wildest dreams."

Get involved in the spreading the seed of the gospel in the lives of the teens you know. You will reap amazing rewards from the growth of those seeds!

Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action

This week try to figure out what kind of spiritual "soil" your friends have, and be bold in spreading the seed of the gospel. You'll soon know who Jesus is working on, so be sure to make sure your soil is rich as well so that you can answer any questions.

Accelerant: Feed the Fire

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2).

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace (Acts 20:24).

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (Romans 1:16).