I’ve been thinking a lot about seeds lately. Now, even though I grew up in farm country, I have to admit hopeless ignorance of the intricacies of growing crops. However, even I can easily understand the basics.
One plants a healthy seed in healthy soil, and with the right conditions, such as light and water, one expects the plant to grow. This is an indisputable scientific fact that we give credence to every time we enjoy a salad or bite into a juicy pear.
Jesus made clear that this is just as indisputable in the spiritual world as it is in the physical. Just a brief skim of the parables throughout the Gospels will prove quickly to the reader just how often imagery of planting is used: the faith as a mustard seed (Matt. 17:20), the parable of the farmer sowing seed (Luke 8:4-15), the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) and many such others show us the similarity Christ saw between planting in both the natural and the supernatural realms.
Paul picked up the imagery of Christ and boldly declared in Galatians 6:7: “for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (NKJV). For the godless and those who reject Christ, this is bad news. But for we who love and serve the Lord, it is a precious promise with eternal rewards. Paul continues in verse 9: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
As I enter my fourth year of ministering in a nation with some of the hardest “heart soil” in the world, I cannot begin to tell you how precious Paul’s simple encouragement has become. It’s not printed words on a page or a theological concept, but a spiritual lifeline I cling to moment by moment. In my daily intercession for my adopted people, when I confront the powers of darkness, when I walk the streets in prayer, when I speak to the lost and unbelieving of Christ’s love, all the time I am constantly praying over these seeds to grow, grow, grow!
However, I have to admit the truth: Sometimes I lose heart, faith and focus. I get anxious and upset that so few seeds seem to take root and grow. I want to eat the fruit of my labor, and all I see is a field of dirt! My heart cries out: “When, oh God? If this is Your promise, then let me see at least a little bloom—even one tiny green leaf! If this is a spiritual law, just like a physical one, then where is my crop?”
As usual, God is not impressed with my pouting, but gently leads me back to the promise. Surrounding the exciting declaration “we will reap a harvest” are the instructions “do not become weary,” “at the proper time” and “if we do not give up.” Persistent-widow perseverance (Luke 18) and bulldog tenacity are at the core of the promise, and without them the harvest won’t come.
The question then is not, “Will I ever harvest anything?” but “Can I persevere in sowing seeds, even when I don’t see the harvest yet?” This is the kind of faith it will take in the days in which we live, one that echoes the prophet Habakkuk in persistently rejoicing in God even when we see no signs of growth (Hab. 3:17-18). The harvest will come, as surely it is promised—and, for those of us who persevere in hope and faith, we will enjoy the fruit for eternity!
- Pray for workers in fields with difficult soil, where fruit seems little. Pray for their perseverance to keep sowing and believing.
- Pray to the Lord of the harvest to change the soil of people’s hearts to receive the gospel. Stand against the enemy, who would steal those seeds, and instead pray that the gospel would find good soil.
Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.