I’ve been thinking about workers in the harvest. Jesus told his disciples; “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2) The harvest simile was evidently a favorite Jesus. Who are these workers that Jesus spoke of? In the harvest, to be sure, there are plowers, planters, waterers, growers, and of course, harvesters.
As to plowing or ’tilling,’ I’ve written a series of articles titled “The ‘No-till farming’ Revolution & Its Applications for the Church.” They’re not critical to this post, but may provide some background to my thinking. I know plenty who do what I would consider to be effective ‘plowing’ work in the Kingdom, but I have to wonder, Where does plowing fit in the grand scheme of evangelism and making disciples, and what does biblical ‘plowing’ consist of? Further, what examples of ‘plowing’ do we have in scripture?
There’s no question that there are planters and waterers, but careful consideration is needed when discussing plowing, growing and harvesting. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3:6, says; “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” It seems clear that God is always the grower. Although, the church often acts like it is. Is there any sense in which we contribute, cause, or cooperate in our own spiritual growth?
God says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Break up your unplowed ground
and do not sow among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
circumcise your hearts,
you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Jeremiah 4:3,4)
Again, God says through Hosea the Prophet:
Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. (Hosea 10:12)
Can we, or others, “break up the ground of our fallow (uncultivated, undeveloped, unplanted, unplowed, unproductive, unseeded) hearts? Or, does that task belong only to the Lord?
There’s no question that there are planters and waterers, but careful consideration is needed when discussing grower(s) and harvesters. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3:6, says; “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” It seems clear that God is the grower. Although, the church often acts like it is. With respect to harvesting, many equate it with ‘soul winning,’ or ‘bringing others to Jesus.’ But it that true? Is there any sense in which we contribute to or participate in our own spiritual growth?
Finally, and the intent of this post, Are there those who are SPECIFICALLY plowers, planters, waterers, growers, and harvesters? In other words, is there a community of farmers/gardeners where each one has there own gift or task? Or, does each member in the Church sort of phase in and out of these tasks as culture, context, and time constraints necessitate?
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