Pictured above are my magnificent gospel beans, heirloom pole beans handed down in my wife’s family for generations. These beans made the trek in a wagon down the eastern seaboard and across Georgia and Alabama to northeast Mississippi. The family story is told that in the 19th century one ancestor, a woman, traveled through Indian territory with her wagon, children, and one cow. She was stopped by Indians and they kept the cow but allowed her to continue. In the wagon were seeds for the next crop, including these bean seeds.
At least six generations of my wife’s family, ones alive during our lifetimes, have kept, planted, and eaten these beans. They are the most prolific, the hardiest, the most drought resistant, the most insect resistant, the least stringy, the most tender, and the tastiest pole beans I’ve ever seen or eaten. But there’s a catch: No seed, no beans. A few family members have them but no one else has this bean with the long genetic history.
I call them the gospel beans.
Our beloved Southern Baptist Convention is in a long slow decline. The last time baptisms were this low, I wasn’t born and I’m starting my eighth decade later this year. My state, Georgia, is in a steady decline that is over a decade long. More people here, more churches, less baptisms. The best that is being said about SBC baptisms is that the rate of decline has slowed. Big deal.
J. D. Greear, current SBC president has a “Who’s your one?” evangelistic thrust. NAMB has hired Johnny Hunt, one of the SBC’s most enthusiastic and outstanding megapastors to have a national “Who’s your one?” tour all over the country. I’m on board and fully support these.
Your humble hacker and plodder desires to join the effort and offers the gospel bean plan. Here’s the plan:
- You take the bean and stick it in the ground. Most any ground will do.
- You nurture the bean, give it some water.
- You wait a while and pick the bean.
It has worked for generations, brethren and sistren. We wouldn’t be talking about this if it didn’t work.
- You take the Gospel and share it, plant the seed, with whomever happens to be in your world.
- You nurture the thing by building a relationship and being Christ-like.
- You wait around and let God do his work.
- When God gives the increase, you join in.
It’s not brain surgery, It’s not rocket science. You don’t even need a seminary degree. Illiterate first century followers of Christ did it the same way. There isn’t a limited supply of the Gospel. It’s freely available.
There’s plenty of time to plant. Let’s get with it.
Happy to make my contribution. Actually, it’s my wife’s family’s contribution. My family were city folks.