No, I haven’t been out mowing ourgarden. Or my grandma’s, which needs a petrol strimmer since it hasn’t been mown since last year (she’s moving house tomorrow).

Strand Presbyterian Church has been running a short series on Encouragement, and tonight we were looking at 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, which tells them off for saying they follow Paul or Apollos instead of Christ, and compares them to gardeners.

Paul deliberately uses hyperbole, but one thing he speaks of is how he sowed the seed (planted the church), Apollos watered it (maintained the church) and God made it grow (speaks for itself).

In discussion, someone linked it to the Parable of the Sower, and that set me thinking of our friends the street preachers in Cornmarket.

They remind me of men sowing seed so that it falls on the stony ground or among weeds, where it never gets a chance to grow. All the water in the world won’t make it grow.

What really bugs me about street preachers is that they always seem disconnected from their own story, the reality of what God has done for them as individuals. It’s always about what God has done for everyone else, almost as if (and yes, I know this is unintended) he didn’t need to do it for them.

I don’t pretend to be a post-modernist, although when life is bad, I deal best with those who have stories to tell, rather than presenting objective truth, who talk about the
reality of God in their lives. People who show their integrity by what God has done for them, whose every word you know is true, and that they will help you find solid backing for it in God’s word.

Another point David made was that people speaking don’t attract a great audience – even at Speaker’s Corner (yes, I’ve been there – not as a speaker though!), but people doing something – think unicycles, jugglers etc – do. The impact of the visual, and he remarked that Paul had done many things to reach out with the gospel.

Don’t get me wrong, there is no suggestion here that doing is more important than preaching – it is more a reflection that what we do should reflect what we say and vice versa, and the two together will have an impact far greater than words alone.

Especially if you don’t put them off with words first.

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