There are many verses of scripture that point to God as a farmer but none more applicable to this writing than John 15:1 where Jesus says, “I am the vine and My Father is the vinedresser” (Gk. ‘georgos’), and 1 Cor. 3:9 where the local church is identified as God’s field (Gk. ‘georgion’). Each of these selected Greek words is formed from ‘ge’ (land, ground) and ‘ergo’ (to do). Thus, the KJV used the phrases, “My Father is the husbandman” (tiller of the ground) and “you are God’s husbandry” (tilled land).
Notice the context of “you are God’s field”:
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 1 Cor. 3:6-9
This indicates there is planting, watering and harvest. Jesus’ statement in Jn. 15 about the Father’s farming or husbandry also stands in the context of expected fruit (Jn. 15:4-8).
Since we are the field and are expected to produce fruit (or harvest), let us look at Jesus’ parable describing the ground which will or will not produce fruit.
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mk. 4:3-8
It is very important to recognize that the parable is not about the sower or the seed. It is about the soil. Some folks want to blame the preacher or teacher instead of taking the responsibility to produce. Paul and Apollos were both teachers (Acts 13:1; 18:24-25); one planted and one watered but it was then as it is now, the ground determined the yield. If folks have never heard, then preaching is planting. If they have heard, it is watering. In each, there is no fault with the seed or the process which Father oversees as a patient farmer. The parable shows clearly that the ground will or will not produce dependent on its own condition.
Only some hearts who get seeded will produce and that will be in varying amounts of 30, 60, or 100-fold. Some don’t produce because the thief (satan) steals away the seed. They apparently didn’t resist him so that he would flee (1 Pt. 5:8). Some just don’t have any depth to them; their Christian experience is all surface and not deeply rooted. They look good for a while and then just fade away. Some just let the experience of time choke the life right out of them. In these cases there were no results but, thank God, there is good ground that produces.
How, then, can we insure that we produce (bear the fruit that Father expects)? How will we be the field in which there is planting, watering and increase? The answer is in the summary statement Jesus gives of this parable:
“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you, and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” Mk. 4:23-25
Take heed how you hear because “faith comes by hearing…” (Rom. 10:17), not from having heard. The attitude of thinking, “I’ve heard that before,” is dangerous. The first hearing is a planting; the subsequent hearings are the watering. It doesn’t even matter if the seed and the ground are both good. Without watering, there is no increase. So, tune up your hearing and to him who has (heard), even more will be given but to him who has not (heard), even what he has will be taken away from him.
My son, give attention to My words; incline your ear to My sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Prov. 4:20-22
-Walter Healy, Senior Pastor