In the opening line in his 1889 book On the Wall, Rudyard Kipling, best known for writing The Jungle Book, is credited with dubbing prostitution the oldest profession in the world. I wonder where on earth he came up with that notion, and why the world has believed it ever since. According to the world’s oldest and longest running bestseller but least read book, The Bible, which was inspired by the world’s oldest Author, God – Farming appears to be the most ancient of occupations. And my husband Jay is a farmer.
This truth was born not long after the fall of man, when the serpent and Adam and Eve had their come to Jesus moment, in the garden of Eden. Genesis chapter three tells us Adam was demoted to farming for his part in the fall after following his wife Eve’s advice. Ouch.
I am a farmer’s wife but I don’t farm. I would call myself more of an armchair quarterback farmers wife. I grew up on a farm and I have been a farmer’s wife for thirty-four years, but I don’t farm. Ask me how to live the fitness lifestyle, that I can help you with. But don’t ask me which corn hybrid to buy. That is Farmer Jay’s job. I figured out early on in our marriage that if claim that I can do something, I may be recruited to do it. So, there are certain things I play dumb with, like farm work. But there are a few things I have learned by listening and through close observation over the years.
Invest in good seed. Plant early. Harvest is a marathon. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Oh yeah, Jesus said that last line. Farmer Jay invests in good seed. In fact, a few years back he counted the cost and made the decision to put all his eggs in one basket and buy one brand of seed. The price was high and there was risk involved, but he has never looked back. Jay makes every effort to get seed in the ground early, so he can begin harvest early, knowing sowing and reaping are directly related. All the in between watering and growing is left to the Good Lord.
Harvest is a marathon and a race against time and here in Iowa, and finding people to help with harvest is difficult. Once you get to Thanksgiving, the weather can turn nasty quickly which can hurt yields. No farmer wants that.
And neither does Jesus.
Remember we reap what we sow. And if we want to reap a harvest of leading others into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we must sow good seed. Jesus himself gives us the best seed for planting during the Sermon on the Mount. And don’t miss this, because I did for years, just before he launches into this message he looks at his disciples and the he says, “blessed are the poor in spirit.” Did you get that? He wasn’t talking to everyone at the time, but just those who had chosen to take a risk and put all their eggs in his basket. His disciples, or followers. The big crowds weren’t yet all in for Jesus and so for them to hear this deep spiritual wisdom would have sounded just like “Wak! Wak! Wak!”. I know. I gave my life to Christ at about the age of eight. But I wasn’t an all-in follower until just a few years ago, when I got that wonderful blessing of desperation in the middle of a storm in my life, a time where I needed Jesus every hour. Up until that time I would say I was more of a fan, sitting in the stands watching Jesus from a distance. Today, I absolutely know for certain, that when we get off the bleacher seats and get in the field he gives the best seed for sowing him into human hearts which is the seed of unconditional love. That’s what changes the world. Jesus said it, Love God, Love self, love neighbor, Paul said it, the greatest of these is love…. the fruit of the spirit is love. And since I chose to follow Jesus I have to live a radically different life than the world around me. Did you know the root of the word saint means different? I used to think it meant you were nearly perfect. But I like different better, because perfect, I am not.
Just before he tells his disciples that the harvest is plentiful and the workers few, Jesus looks around and his heart hurts. He sees all these lost, wandering sheep and he knows he needs help to bring people back into right relationship with God and the best harvest begins with loving on folks, most especially those who don’t deserve it. I did it wrong for so long, I wanted to bring people to Jesus by making them feel bad about who they were or what they had done or by beating them over the head with my Bible and I never liked it when others did that to me. Most of the time people don’t want our opinion, they want our unconditional love.
Like Farmer Jay, Jesus sends his disciples out for a test drive in the field with this good seed. He tells them to take nothing with them, travel light. As a woman that notion alone terrifies me. But, I want you to know I have practiced this concept and the kitchen sink no longer goes in the travel bag. Listen, Jesus wants them, and us, to depend on the seed (the Gospel=good news=grace=unconditional love) and God. Like Farmer Jay, once the seed is in the ground he wants us to let go and let him do the watering and the growing. That was hard for me because for the longest time I lived under the illusion that it was my job to fix, manage and control other people. I found I was suffering from Savior syndrome and that is above my pay grade. It’s my job to love them, and God will take care of the rest.
The workers are few. Jesus taught us how to bring people to him and it is critical that we pay that forward. It’s up to us to get out among the harassed and hapless crowds that surround us on every side and show them what being a Jesus follower looks like. Be the light. Love unconditionally. Together let’s change the world.
The harvest is plentiful, the workers are few. ©
Be joy filled always,