Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spiritual Farming

What does the picture of the farmer below communicate to you?  Take a look at where he is standing, what he has in his hands, look at his posture, and his focus.  Look at the soil, the water and lastly, look at the crops themselves.  What do you see?

The crops are often the focus in pictures like this, but there is so much more involved in this picture.  Without the farmer, his care, the shovel, water, dirt and sunshine, there would not be any crops.  Often Christians pray for the fruit, the crops, but are less excited about all that is required for the fruit to be enjoyed.

I can imagine this field a few months earlier; there was probably not much growing.  The farmer had to plow the ground and break up the dirt that had become calloused from the winter.  There may have been weeds pulled or rocks removed along with some cover crops planted that would grow quickly and then be plowed back into the ground for additional nutrients.  I'm certain there were was a lot of sweat, sore muscles and prayers for rain as the precious seeds of the crops were sown into the field with great care and anticipation.  Did you notice the knee brace on the farmer?  Possibly a reminder of injuries that come from caring for the land and the crops.  And then there was a bunch of waiting...waiting for the seeds to germinate and poke through the soil that was loved on by the farmer.

After much hard labor, the crops are still not ready for harvest, but they will be soon enough.  A little sunshine, a bit of rain and the tender care and sacrifice of the farmer and the crops will be ready to give up their precious fruit.

The story can be seen as an allegory of what it takes for fruit to be seen in the lives of believers and not yet believers.  There must be a farmer, one who cares for people and is willing to disciple them Discipling people is simply pointing them to Jesus and teaching them to obey His truth.  There must be a lot of prayer and spiritual sweat put into the soil of souls.  This will include time spent with the soil (people), time spent with God in prayer and in the sowing of the hope of God in their hearts.  There must also be patience to wait for the soil (the heart of a person) to be ready to receive the seed and then for germination to take place.  

Helping people become like Jesus is really simple, a heart (soil), the Word of God (seed), some prayer and care (water and sunshine) and a bunch of love (hard work).  It is really simple - just a few ingredients - but helping people become like Jesus does require hard work, discipline, sacrifice and a focus of obedience to what Jesus has called us: to help people become like Him.

Are you making disciples? 
Do you believe that you are to be making disciples?
What excites you or scares you about making disciples of Jesus?
If you are not making disciples, what would be helpful to you in order to begin the process?

Let's dialogue about this if you'd like by leaving a comment/question below.