Life on the Farm Day 2: Planting Season
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7, ESV)
In Iowa, planting season is in the months of April and May. It’s a very busy time, getting hundreds of thousands of corn and soybean seeds into the ground. It’s not just a matter of putting the seeds in the ground and then dusting off your hands and waiting for the seeds to sprout. The ground must first be prepared for the seed. The hard, packed-down soil is slowly churned up and then injected with nutrients so that it’s ready to receive and nourish the seed that will be planted. A great deal of time and care is put into creating an ideal environment for the seed to flourish.
You may be familiar with the parable of the sower that Jesus tells in Matthew 13. The sower encounters four different types of soil and, therefore, four different results of seed growth. The first soil is a beaten-down path where birds instantly snatch the seed away. The second soil, though rocky, produces growth at first, but since the seed cannot establish a strong root, it withers away in the hot sun. The third soil is full of thorns, which choke the seed as it starts to grow. The fourth soil is good, and the seeds sprout and grow and produce a lot of grain. Oftentimes this parable is used in a gospel sermon, instructing listeners to be like the good soil, not allowing anything to get in the way of responding to the message of salvation. I like to apply this parable to my role as a mom as well.
As a mom, my job is to provide for the needs of my family. These include both physical and spiritual needs. What kind of foundation am I preparing for my children? Am I putting in the time necessary to prepare their hearts to hear about God? Just as a seed needs a healthy environment to grow properly, our children benefit greatly when we create for them a healthy spiritual environment in which to grow. We need to take the time to pour the seeds of life into our children by ensuring they are consistently under the sound of God’s Word both inside and outside the home. You cannot expect something to grow if you do not first plant a seed in the ground and give that seed the time and care it requires to grow. This can apply to any area of your life. What seeds have you planted in your church? With your friends? In your work? Without seeds, there cannot be a harvest. Planting seeds is the very first step when growing anything. If you want to grow in your local church, first plant your seeds and establish roots. If you want to be a better friend or a better wife, plant that seed and begin to nurture it.
Be careful where you are planting your seeds, however. In the book of Galatians, Paul warns about what happens when you sow your seeds in the wrong places. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8). These words by Jack Hunter sum these verses up perfectly: “The contrast is vivid and startling: ‘sow-flesh-corruption’ or ‘sow-Spirit-life everlasting.’ Note that we determine the outcome, for we choose to sow to the flesh or to the Spirit.”
Time is a precious commodity that can easily be wasted on things that do not last. If the farmer puts in the time necessary to prepare and care for the planted seeds, his crop will flourish. If he wastes his time and neglects the seed, however, it will not grow. Use your time wisely, and pour the seeds of life into your children from an early age. Use your time to plant seeds in all areas that you want to grow for God. Do not sow those seeds sparingly; instead, focus on sowing bountifully so that you may reap bountifully as well.