Summary: Farming is no game. Understanding life on the farm is necessary for survival. Learn the laws and learn the lessons in order to live successfully in Farmville.
Life on the Farm – Part 1
Unless you have spent some time on Facebook you are probably asking, “What is Farmville?” I am glad you asked! Farmville is a real-time farm simulation game. The game allows members of Facebook to manage a virtual farm by planting, growing and harvesting virtual crops, trees, and livestock. Since its launch in June 2009, Farmville has become the most popular game application on Facebook, with over 75.2 million active users and over 18.1 million fans as of January 2010.
Do we have any farmers in the house? Just think while you are sitting in this service this morning your crops are growing or dying! Urban people, many of whom have never stepped foot on a farm or stepped in anything produced at a farm are virtually running their own spread! They are getting a little peek, although a painless and risk free one, of what it is to be involved in the agricultural industry, lifestyle, and market. They are living life on the farm!
I believe that Jesus would have been a fan of Farmville! Now, notice I didn’t say He would waste His life playing it all day! Why do I think He would have been a fan? Because, He understood the world of agriculture! He was surrounded by farming. If you study the culture of Galilee it is easy to discover that agriculture was the major industry of that time and place. Everywhere Jesus went He encountered farms and farmers as they grew and depended on figs, olives, and grains. So, it is no major surprise that in order to effectively communicate, Jesus developed much of the content of His teachings around agriculture themes! In fact, if you go back and look through His teachings, especially the parables, you see the Farmville theme running like a thread throughout each story. All in all He told 9 agriculture parables.
1. The "Fig Tree"
2. "Picking Grain on the Sabbath"
3. The "Mustard Seed"
4. The "Sower"
5. The "Tennants in the Vineyard"
6. The "Vine and the Branches"
7. The "Weeds in the Wheat"
8. The "Workers in the Vineyard"
9. The "Yeast"
I would submit to you this morning that even if you have never even driven past a real farm or you have never logged into a virtual farm these agricultural teachings still have profound application for you! I don’t have time to deal with them all, so I would like to focus in on the one parable that I think was Jesus’ greatest agricultural teaching. Although this parable deals specifically with how a person responds to spiritual truth this teaching has so many implications for every area of our lives. It addresses our home life, our relationships, our finances, our work ethic, and our spiritual walk. It is wide in its scope and deep in its reach into the fabric of our lives. You have heard this story since you were a child. Let’s hear it again as if it were the first time, so that we can use it as the backdrop against which we can learn old truths again!
1-3 At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories.
3-8"What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.
18-19"Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn't take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person's heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.
20-21"The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
22"The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.
23"The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams."