“The Christian: A Farmer in God’s Field”

The Christian: A Farmer in God’s Field

Wade Webster

The Bible gives us many pictures of a Christian.  These pictures are designed to help us to see who God wants us to be and what God wants us to do.  The first picture that we want to consider is that of a farmer in God’s field.

Plowing - The first step is to prepare the ground for planting.  To prepare the ground, the farmer plows the field.  The plough roots up what is presently growing in the soil and softens the soil to receive the seed that will be sown.  Isaiah detailed this process to make a spiritual application.  He wrote, “Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my speech. Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods? When he has leveled its surface, Does he not sow the black cummin And scatter the cummin, Plant the wheat in rows, The barley in the appointed place,And the spelt in its place? For He instructs him in right judgment, His God teaches him” (Isa. 28:23-26).  You may recall that Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen when he was called to follow Elijah (1 Kings 19:19).  I believe that you will agree that Elisha could plow a pretty big field with that tractor.  It didn’t run like a Deere, and it wasn’t green, but it got the job done.  No doubt, you recall that Jesus used ploughing in His teaching.  You may even see some clear connections to Elisha. He said, “And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”(Luke 9:61-62; cf. 1 Kings 19:20-21). To plow a straight row, the farmer had to keep his eyes focused forward (Phil. 3:13-14). 

Planting - The second step is to plant the seed.  You may recall that Jesus told a parable about a sower that went forth to sow (Mat. 13:3-9).  The more that the farmer sows, the greater the potential harvest.  Paul wrote, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6). As you know, Paul was using sowing to teach a lesson about giving.  We read, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:7-8).

Pulling - The third step was to pull up the weeds that appeared in the field. Although plowing disrupted the weeds and gave the seed an opportunity to come up and begin to grow, it did not totally eradicate the weeds.  Some of them would reappear and need to be pulled up to keep them from choking out the good plants.  You recall that Jesus spoke of that problem in the Parable of the Sower (Mat. 13:7).  As you may recall, Jesus did not address pulling up the weeds in that parable. That was not His focus in that parable.  In another parable, the Parable of the Tares, the subject of pulling up weeds would come up.  We read, “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’” (Mat. 13:24-28).  Sadly, on that occasion, it was not possible to remove them without destroying the crop (Mat. 13:29-30).  Please note that though the tares were not pulled up that day, they were going to be rooted up one day (Mat. 15:13).

Picking - The fourth and final step was to harvest the crop.  The farmer waited patiently for this day to come.  James wrote, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7).  When the harvest finally came, the farmer rejoiced.  The Psalmist wrote, “Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalms 126:5-6).  The farmer rejoiced as he gathered his crop into his barn.  You may recall that Jesus and others often spoke of gathering the wheat or the crop into the barn.  John the Baptist declared of Jesus: “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12).  You may recall that Jesus told a story about a rich man who had such an abundant harvest that he did not have room in his barns to store it all (Lk. 12:16-21).  Perhaps, you are thinking, but wasn’t he condemned?  Yes, he was.  But, he was condemned for the foolishness of leaving God out of His plans. 

If you have ever farmed, then you know that farming is hard,  but rewarding work.  Paul wrote, “The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.” (2 Tim. 2:6).  Let’s be busy as Christians fulfilling this role that God has given us (1 Cor.3:6, 9).