The Farmer's Heart
Mark 4 v1-33
The process of farming is analogous to that of evangelism. Plant the seed, grow the plant then harvest.
The most important step is when the seeds grow, this is what God does. The farmer (us) does not understand how it grows, it does it by itself, this is God making it grow.
God is sovereign but we have have a role to play
Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. He initiated and brings it to conclusion. He is the one doing the work not us. So what is our role?
Sowing - Jesus chose scattering not perfectly controlling and placing the seed. You need to just get the word out there, don’t wait for the perfect situation to share. As we are told only some will land in good soil but that’s ok because there will be a bountiful harvest from those that fell on good ground. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of our outreach. The mustard seed may be the smallest of all seeds but grows into the largest of plants. Don’t judge people or yourself by how effective your outreach appears to be. We can share in many ways, e.g through our acts of service, words, prayers and way we live. The seed is the word of God, so at some point we need to open our mouths and share, it’s not just about being a good person.
Tending - watering, irrigating, planting and waiting. Need to water the plants regularly not just once a week. It applys to us too, for our own spiritual growth as well as that of others. Sharing with others could be praying, reaching out and sharing with them regularly. Plants are different, some grow fast, some slow. But Gods timing is perfect. Don’t give up hope, some plants can take a Long time. We are all different plants. Don’t rush the growth, keep tending, God is in control. We need to seek discernment, always act in love. Don’t just speak at them. There is a time for boldness but this should be through Gods prompting. What happens when we forget or don’t tend to our crops? God can send rain, he is sovereign, although we have responsibilities, we are just a part/co-worker with Him. We shouldn’t use this as a reason not to, we will be blessed and so will others through this. If we forget, even if we think our plants are dead, God can bring it back to life, don’t let one period of slipping up and falling short discourage you. Faith and Perseverance is important, keep at it. In the Middle East 30% come to faith through dreams and visions, God can plant the seed and grow it himself too when the workers are few.
Harvest - timing is important, we need to be watchful and ready. It is a very tight window, you hire extra workers to come to the field and harvest when the time comes. Ecclesiastes 3 there is a time for everything. There is a certain time to share. We need to be watchful for when that time comes. We need to be prepared to share. A short personal testimony is a really useful tool. Practise how to share it. The 4 key aspects of leading someone to Christ. The sinners prayer is a useful tool that covers these steps, you don’t need to pray it using the same words but the structure is important. The person doing the harvest may not be you, you may be the planter, tender, just trust God is in control, he can bring in the extra workers and knows the timing. God can use anyone in the harvest.