Our life is truly like working a field.
There's a time to plow, plant, water, prune, harvest... and let the land rest.
These metaphors are literal when it comes to an actual field when growing something to eventually eat.
They can also be quite literal, being applied to many other efforts.
Not every person we encounter is ready for the Gospel, or to repent of what has been entrenched ( an attitude, habit, or belief firmly established and difficult or unlikely to change; ingrained ) for years.
There are some who immediately respond to God's love.
These most likely had received a planted seed and water for some time; how exactly is forever a mystery.
Seed planting and watering isn't only sitting before a preacher hearing a Gospel message, as the religious may only understand.
Seeing an act of kindness, an effort of love... and so many other ways indescribable can trigger the heart to reflect on God, His Word, His Way and His Love.
We may have come across others who are quite contrived ( deliberate rather than arising naturally or spontaneously; a way that seems artificial and unrealistic ) in their efforts to forward the Gospel's message.
Maturity, consideration of others and experience corrects this.
The entire world has practically heard about God, about His Christ and perhaps bits and pieces of the Gospel's message.
But even with so many efforts of people forwarding the Gospel, or talking about Christ, still many have not “seen” Christ.
The Gospel is preached every day on television, radio, street corners, in religious buildings and in close conversation.
But Christ is rarely seen and evidenced in the actions of His professors.
Christ is also rarely “heard” when in conversation with others.
Some people think the Gospel is some spellbinding invocation.
Not denying the power that the Word has on the heart of the listener, but the manner in which it is presented has to include love.
Far too many preachers are blasting the ears of hearers with so much condemnation, warning, fear and other things that it is no surprise hearers lack faith.
Love, kindness, encouragement, calmness, humility... and the many other attributes Christ exemplified can go further than all the quoting of Scripture from a loud mouth can.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
- 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3