A post about farming might seem strange for a blog from the Dallas/Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast. But stay with me and see what you make of the connections.
Agriculture is a common theme in Jesus’ teachings. Those parables can apply to our work, personal, and spiritual lives – if we only listen a little closer. Dan Farell, deacon vice chairman of First Baptist Dallas, shows how with a short but fascinating parable that appears only in the gospel of Mark:
“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-29).
So farming is a picture of the Kingdom of God. It begins with scattering seed. Seed can be stored and kept indefinitely, even years. But it will never produce anything until it is scattered. A farmer is called – we are called – to scatter seed, not hold on to it. What’s the seed? Read on.
Next, for the farmer, the job is a waiting game. “He sleeps and rises night and day…” And day…after day… after day. There’s always work to do on a farm, but making seed grow is not one of them. That’s above the farmer’s pay grade. A farmer must yield to God’s plan, God’s way. So must we.
Then “the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself…” Though farmers are intelligent, they cannot tell us why a seed grows. Even scientists only observe the process of germination. They can identify the most favorable temperature, moisture, and soil conditions. But neither scientists nor farmers can explain the invisible force that makes all this happen. It’s God’s work. The farmer must have faith that God will do His job. So must we.
Growing to full maturity takes time; “…first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear…” On average, a single kernel of corn can reproduce itself 1,600 times over. But not overnight. It takes an entire growing season for the fruit to mature. The same is true for people: a child, a Christian, a pastor, a deacon, a teacher, a staff member. As a farmer must have patience, workers in the Kingdom of God must have the same.
“But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” When the fields are ripe for harvest, the farmer must be available for the harvest.
What does this first century agricultural story mean for modern businesspeople like us?
As First Baptist’s Farell explained, in the Kingdom of God, we’re all farmers. We scatter the seed of the good news: unmerited salvation for all who believe, purchased by the death of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit brings spiritual growth in ways we don’t understand and in His own time.
At first, faith is tender and vulnerable, just like new plants. But with the proper nourishment that only God gives, that trust grows, matures, and becomes strong. We must simply be obedient, faithful, patient, and then available for the harvest.
God provides each of us with opportunities to be a farmer. In fact, he expects us to “farm” for people. The DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast on Friday, Oct. 5 is one of those opportunities. Here’s one way to do that:
- Register to host a table of 10, similar to buying a small plot of land.
- Invite friends and/or acquaintances to sit at your table who could profit from some “Jesus” time; you plant the seeds.
- Follow up with a reminder every once and a while leading up to the event, allowing God to work His plan.
- Show up, engage, and nurture your guests on the day of the event, just harvesting the seeds in the field.
What a great analogy for us to apply Jesus’ teaching to our lives. Are you ready to farm? #DFWTechPB #FaithatWork
Dan Hayes co-chairs the Merv Tarde Values in Leadership Circle of the Dallas / Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast.