Farmers for Christ
Farmers for Christ
Farming isn’t just for anyone. After all, it involves a lot of hard work during what can sometimes be extreme inclement weather. You can’t put off planting until you are ready, you can’t put off harvesting until you’re ready; everything is done on a schedule. Farming is more than just a job, you have to love everything about it.
You have to have a love for the soil, not be afraid of a challenge, not be afraid to get your hands dirty. The soil has to be carefully prepared; you have to know the difference between what you have planted and weeds during the early stages of growth. And, of course, there’s the fertilizer and generous amounts of water.
Now, I have found at least three kinds of farmers described in the Bible. The first is a successful farmer. Let's take a look at a story of Isaac and how he can be considered a successful farmer. Soon, after Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright, there was a famine in the land. Isaac was told by God to go and stay in Philistine as a foreigner and He would be with him and bless him. Isaac a faithful follower of God, approached Abimilech, King of the Philistines, and told him what God had said; Isaac would be allowed to settle in Gerar. Genesis 26:12-13 states, “Isaac sowed seed in that land, and in that year he reaped a hundred times what was sown. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich and kept getting richer until he was very wealthy.” God had already promised Isaac He would be with him and bless him. I believe he worked hard, was obedient and faithful to God fully expecting to see success.
The second farmer is a lazy farmer. A lazy farmer can’t be described any better than it is in Proverbs 20:4 – “The slacker does not plow during planting season; at harvest time he looks, and there is nothing.” Remember, farming relies on a very strict planting and harvesting schedule. This lazy farmer sounds like a procrastinator. He might plant when he gets ready, more than likely too late in the season. Then he will wonder why nothing is turning out the way it should. The crop doesn’t bloom or produce enough, and if it does produce it's puny. Why bother?
The third kind of farmer is a patient farmer. James compares waiting for the Lord’s coming to the patience of a farmer. “See how the framer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.” This farmer has done the work and now will carefully tend to the crop as needed while waiting for the rains to come. Matter of fact, a patient farmer really ends up being a successful farmer because he knows he will eventually see the final results.
In many ways, there isn’t much difference between a farmer and a church member. Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 3 and look at verse 9. “For we are God’s co-workers, you are God’s field, God’s building.” We are God’s co-workers, we are God’s servants, we are God’s farmers working His field.
I once attended a church in Georgia that had a sign at the edge of their parking lot that read, "You are now entering the mission field." What is our mission? To spread the Gospel and win souls for Christ. How do we do that? We plant the seeds, water them and God grows them. We need to have a love for the soil. We need to have a love for our community. We should be going out into the community planting the Gospel seeds in the homes. We should be visiting folks in our community in their homes and inviting them to church. I realize some may do this in their own neighborhoods, but I’m talking about the church as a whole knocking on doors. Yes, doors may be closed in your face, but at least you've tried.
We have a tremendous opportunity to cultivate the youth in our church. The seeds have been planted and many keep coming back. But if they are the future of the church do we stop there? What is stopping us from knocking on their doors and planting the gospel seeds of salvation with their parents? Jesus tells us to go out into the world! We shouldn’t be waiting for someone to call for a bus ride to church.
Once the seeds are planted we need to tend the crops or mentor the children. We need to pull the weeds, water and fertilize them. We need to continue to reinforce the Gospel to them each day they are here. We need to continue to give them every opportunity to accept God’s salvation.
Even still, all we can do is tend the crops. Only God can take care of the growth. Only God can take the planted seed and make it swell to a point where the person wants nothing else than to ask Jesus into their heart.
What kind of farmer are WE going to be? Are you going to be a lazy farmer and not visit in your community and plant gospel seeds in the homes? Are we going to ignore the seeds already planted and then wonder why we don’t have the expected results?
Are we going to be patient farmers, patiently planting the seeds in the community and the church, patiently cultivating them while we wait to see the fruit of our labors?
Or are we going to be like Isaac and faithfully work hard planting and cultivating in a way that glorifies God and rely on His promise that He will be with us and bless us and grow this church beyond anything we can imagine?