Which is more important in farming: to sow the seeds, or harvest the crops?
My grandfather was a dairy farmer in South Carolina, but he also grew some corn and other crops. I was growing up on that same farm when he retired from the dairy business, but boy do I remember how he still loved to work a garden. Those great big watermelons were delicious, especially cold right out of the fridge. We’d slice one outside on our makeshift concrete slab table, then we’d dig in with delight have competitions to see who could spit the seeds the farthest. I didn’t realize at the time how important those seeds were, and especially how important the seed that turned into that yummy watermelon.
Was it more important that my grandpa planted the seed, or that he pulled the watermelon when it was ready? It’s both! That watermelon would never have existed had it not been planted, but it would have simply rotted away if it had never been harvested. God designed little seeds to grow into amazing things, but he also designed them so that they must first be planted. Jesus tells us in the gospels that just as there are physical seeds, there are also spiritual seeds that must be planted in people—all different types of people. And Paul uses an illustration in 1 Corinthians 3:6 of planting and watering—“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (ESV).
Is one job more important than the other? The real answer is—nothing would happen without God! Paul writes in verse 7, “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (ESV). As followers of Christ we are all called to tell the good news and call people to follow Jesus. Sometimes a gospel seed can be planted and then immediately bear fruit all in one conversation, but that seems to be more the exception than the rule. God has designed it so that we His people work together—some watering, some planting—while we ultimately depend on the Lord to make gospel seeds turn into fruit.
We are called to such work here in Georgia and across the globe. In any and every season, Jesus’ great commission continually calls us to tell the good news until our life ends or Christ returns—even when a great pandemic comes along. How can you be sowing seeds, or watering, or helping others bear spiritual fruit today? It may look a little different than in other seasons, but consider those right around you—your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Who is hurting or broken right now that you can point to the Maker? He may not be willing to confess his sin and trust in Jesus today, but God may give you the opportunity to sow a seed of gospel truth in his heart that can be watered months or years from now.
Our scripture memory verses are great to share with others, especially as you work on them. Isaiah 40:28 is coming up soon—“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” (ESV). Even when we don’t understand how a virus spreads, or what will happen tomorrow, or even how a little black seed can turn into a juicy red melon, God knows all things and He created all people to know Him. Will you as His follower be about His work—sowing, watering, gathering—even as others have done in your life? For “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor” 1 Corinthians 3:8 (ESV). All the glory be to Christ!