Happy Monday to you!
He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Soil preparation is difficult, unglamorous work. Especially when the earth is hard and unyielding. Digging in requires diligence and prolonged effort. Mostly it takes patience—a willingness to endure a lengthy season of apparent futility, all in the belief that a payoff is coming. But without careful attention to cultivation, fruitfulness is limited at best. Such was the calling of John the Baptist- preparing the soil of hearts in anticipation of Jesus’ arrival on the scene. To patiently, diligently call people back to God- digging the spade into hard hearts, one at a time. Some hearts refused to yield and remained stuck in their resistance. Others softened slowly, demanding years of spade work before any change became evident. This was John’s calling. In many cases it is ours as well. In a spiritual climate like ours, we will need to take lessons from John the Baptist in the hard, enduring work of soil- and soul- preparation.
What people in your circle of influence- work, neighborhood, school, etc- is God calling you to engage in soil preparation with? What’s a next step toward that?
Talk about the idea of preparing the ground for the seeds to grow. Discuss how that might look from a spiritual perspective with people who are far from God. Discuss people they can be engaging in this way.