When I first moved to Vermont, I was given the keys to a farm.
I had never farmed in my life. I hadn’t even gardened. It was a mystery as to why I was picked for this job, as there were wonderful candidates who doubled me in life experience and ran circles around me when it came to all things agriculture. I didn’t know where to start, so I found myself Googling “farming 101”.
The growth of your crops is not on you.
I bought a few hundred seed-starter trays and meticulously placed each seed into its own square inch. All I had to do was water twice-a-day and leave the soon-to-be-plants in the greenhouse. Within a few weeks, these seeds had transformed into seedlings. The only problem was that not every seed sprouted.
Now I’m challenged. What did I do differently with these seeds? What did I do wrong? How can I make them grow? I tried everything. Better sunlight? Check. More accurate water distribution? Check. Play Beethoven to create an encouraging growth environment? No. But I thought about it.
I ended up transplanting all of the sprouted seedlings into the garden and tossing the failed experiments into a bin, and shoving that bin under a table in the greenhouse. A few weeks later I came into the greenhouse to grab some tools to care for the plants that were actually growing, only to find that something green had sprouted out of that bin. The bin that hadn’t seen sunlight in weeks. The bin that hadn’t been watered in the same amount of time. The bin that felt like my biggest failure in my short farming career.
It was then that I was reminded of that familiar verse in Scripture, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). It echoed in my mind. He builds His church. Yes, He certainly uses gospel-proclaimers, apostolic ministers, and clean vessels, but “God gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Paul, in Romans 15:18 pointed to God’s ability when he said, “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed.”
This was especially encouraging (and relieving) as I stepped into church planting hoping for a good ole’ success story, beginning to understand that He is “Lord of the harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38), not me. I just get to join Him in His work.
He is working. He is drawing people to Himself. He is willing to use you, and anyone who is willing to follow Him into the harvest. Be a seed scatterer. There may be seeds that we never see sprout, but we can rest assured that God’s word never returns void. The gospel is God’s dynamite power for salvation (Rom. 1:16). Light the stick, throw it, and someone’s life will be altered forever.
Let’s join Him by faithfully sowing the seeds of the Gospel into the lives of those around us, praying that the Lord of the harvest will cause new life and growth, in Him, to sprout up all around us.
You be faithful. He will be fruitful.