Summary: Truths about being a believer.
BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES
Matt 13:1-9, 18-23
* Turn to Matthew 13 and in just a minute we will stand for the reading of a very familiar passage. Begin an old man, I remember an old gospel songs entitled, Bringing in the Sheaves. Later, on a business card of a Pastor were the acrostic R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Exciting, Authentic, and Loving) If Jesus was anything, He was relevant or better said “contemporary” and used language that everyone could understand. Let’s stand and read.
* Papaw, my dad’s dad, was a sharecropper in younger years and got to farm family land in his later years. Looking at the great harvest Jesus mentioned (30, 60, or even 100 times) was have excited my granddad. He always wanted and worked at having a great crop. Many in this room have had the experience (on some level) of planting a garden, field, or farm, working it, and then bringing the harvest. So when we talk about farming or agriculture this is something we can get our hands around and understand.
* For the career farmer there are some great risks. In recent years there have been some farmers who have gone bankrupt, losing land that has been in the family for generations. There are many reasons why farmers have lost their farms. Unseasonal weather, rising costs, machinery, and other things play a part because, make no mistake, farming is not an easy business.
* It is more than a little interesting to me that Jesus used the “hard work” of farming to equate with our task of reaching and discipling people. With everything He did, He communicated to His followers that most important thing was to share the good news. In Luke 4, He announced that one of the reasons He came was to proclaim "the good news to poor."
* Jesus was always sowing the word with a desire to produce a harvest. And today, He is expecting us to “sow the word” and “reap the harvest.” Once again, farming is not easy!
* Think about this parable. Jesus considers us "farmers", perhaps even "sharecroppers." So how can we do our best to bring in a harvest? Let me suggest to you 4 principles of farming.
1. FARMER MUST BE FAITHFUL -
==> I have already mentioned about stories of farmers losing land. Admittedly, most of time it is from unseasonal weather which spans a 3 or 4 year period of time. This is indeed sad.
==> But how sad it would be “if” they lost it all because of laziness? They just didn’t get out of bed, they didn’t work the farm, they sat around swapping stories about "crops" in days past or worse, they spent all their time rearranging the seed and farming equipment in the barn or the shed. The very nature of the name "farmer" indicates WORK!!
==> Two times in my life I have served country churches where Dairy Farming was done. Let me tell you about Dairy Farming. It is 24-7-365. That means it is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can’t go fishing when ground need breaking. There is not 2 weeks of vacation every year. In fact the cows even have to be milked 2 on Christmas and Easter. Let me really illustrate the work of a famer. One day I was helping Gary and Danny cow that was down. If you don’t know, when a cow gets “down”, their legs get under them in such a way that they cannot get to their feet and get the blood circulating again. They will literally lay there and die. So we were out doing our best in the mud (and other stuff) to get this cow up and were being unsuccessful. As I recall we were using their little tractor to pick her up and the little machine didn’t quite have enough power, so Danny went to get the bigger tractor. I thought this would give Gary and I an opportunity to talk and visit. But when Danny left, Gary took the little tractor and in the next 15 minutes, moved hay, moved feed, and accomplished several needed tasks. He did this because work is NEVER done. Procrastinating doesn’t help.
==> Make no mistake, in Jesus’ story you and I are the farmer. We are the ones who are called as a natural part of our life to go into the fields, be faithful, and work for or toward the harvest. When the farmer gets lazy the whole operation dies, the farm becomes worthless, fruitless, and without purpose.
==> Only way people find hope, help, and salvation to miss hell and make heaven is from the faithfulness of the farmer doing the work he is responsible to do. It is the only way there will be a harvest. Let’s make it personal. If we, as the farmer, are not faithful, the harvest will spoil. This is a matter of life and death. You & I must be faithful to prepare the soil.