“…..Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some of the seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth. And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up, and choked them. But other seeds fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit… (Matt. 13:3-8)
A poor grain farmer was distressed because his farm failed to provide adequate prosperity for him and his family. If only he could gain more profit from his crops! He decided on a plan. He would get his harvest to market well in advance of his fellow farmers. That way he would not only have the buyers all to himself, but he also would have more leisure time after he sold it all.
The farmer planted the seed and watched his field very carefully. As soon as the seed sprouted and the green shoots appeared above the ground, he clipped off the sprouts and gathered them into bags. He drove them to market. He congratulated himself on the ease of hauling this early crop compared to the chore of hauling many more and heavier sacks the old way. When he arrived at the market place, no one wanted the few bags of clipped sprouts, not even for birdfeed! Disappointed, the farmer headed for home, consoling himself with one thought: at least he had brought in his harvest before anyone else!
Now you’re probably shaking your head in amusement as you read this account, and you certainly don’t think very highly of that farmer’s wisdom. You’re probably thinking that anyone who has ever grown anything at all knows better than that foolish farmer. You know that bringing any seed to maturity and harvest, whether it’s a houseplant or a grain crop, requires time and care. It takes several essential steps, and these steps must follow a precise order at precise intervals.
If this story about the foolish farmer were true, it would be very sad, indeed. But then, the foolishness of man is always sad. Some who labor in God’s field are like the foolish farmer. They commit the same kind of error as they seek to harvest souls for God’s kingdom.
These people eagerly sow the Gospel seed. But as soon as they sow it, they become impatient. They want to finish the work immediately. Satisfied with nothing less than an instant harvest, they look for shortcuts. The results of such impatient labor are at best a stunted crop, and worse yet, often no harvest at all.
Jesus taught His followers many truths about the Gospel harvest by parables regarding field and seed. The applications are easy to see. The field is the world; the seed to be scattered into the field is the basic kernel of truth, the Bible statement that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (I Cor. 15:3 and 4).
Then that Gospel seed planted in the world must be watered, for no seed will flourish without water. Again that water is the Bible statement. After the watering of the Word and the resultant sprouting, the young shoots must be cultivated, weeded and nourished, once more by application of the Bible statement. In order to grow to maturity, the plants also need light − again, the Bible statement, the light of God’s Word. In due season, when the crop has received enough water, light and nourishment, the harvest WILL BE READY! And even the reaping is done by the Bible statement. The sword of Gods Word becomes the sickle whereby the crop is harvested. Thus, the sowing, the watering, the cultivating, the nourishing and the reaping are all accomplished by the Word of God.
There is a harvest to be reaped for God . But what of the farmer who is afraid to plant because wild birds might steal the seed, or the wind might blow it away? What of the farmer who won’t water the newly planted seed because the sun will just dry out the ground anyway? Or what shall we think of the one who refuses to cultivate or nourish the new sprouts because weeds get in his way? Or what shall we say of that farmer who won’t go to the harvest field because the work is difficult and the laborers are few?
Those of us who want to reap a harvest for God must be diligent farmers . First, we must possess plenty of seed. We must have stored within us that seed of the Word that we hope to plant in others. Then we must patiently follow the prescribed procedures of watering, nourishing and providing light. We must trust that God has prepared enough good ground, that He will remove the weeds from the precious crop, and that He will provide a bounteous harvest if we are faithful to the task He has set before us.
As the apostle Paul said, "And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9).