The RCL lessons for the past two Sundays (July 13 & 20) underscored the very risky nature of God's mission. A sower who scatters seed on good soil and bad without distinction and a land-owner who allows weeds to flourish among the wheat - what a revelation of God's profligate love for us! And what a challenge to the Church to be as wildly risk-taking in sharing the Good News with others.
There is no support in the parable of the sower for applying cost-benefit considerations to the Church's work. We are called to share the Good News as freely with those whom we would judge as "poor prospects" as we do with those who appear most likely to respond. And we are to resist the temptation to judge whether folks are wheat or weeds, leaving that judgment to God. I am even tempted to see in the parable of the weeds among the wheat a hint that perhaps growing up with weeds all around is good for the wheat! Certainly practicing what John Stott once called "rabbit hole Christianity" is not faithful discipleship. Isolating ourselves from anyone who is not a Christian - or our kind of Christian - for fear that we will be soiled by contact with them seems to indicate a lack of faith in God's ability to protect us from the evil one. (John 17:15)
I believe that the Church is being called to take risks in its ministry and to trust patiently the One who has called us.