Farmin' For Jesus

Written by Greg Benner 12-21-1998

Now Is The Time

Now, after the last needles have fallen from your dehydrated Christmas tree...Now, after the flashbacks from day-after-Christmas sales have dimmed...Now, after holiday gift wraps have been stuffed back in their spot...after family and friends have finally made their way home...after being worn ragged from the season's emotional dive...after energy, desire, and will power have ground to a halt...still dazed by the trench battles of yuletide cheer...Now, is the time to halt life's merry-go-round long enough to jump off and listen once again to God's still small voice. Remember, Christmas is about Jesus and His love, not stuff! Many of us scratch our heads as to how a party for our King can erupt into a frenzied quest to surround ourselves with things in willing exchange for setting God's gift of eternal life back on the shelf year after year. Long after the luster dwindles on the new big screen tv, tool set, or pair of skis; God's glory blazes faithfully on forever in and through His children who stay firmly fixed on His redemptive cause. Now, as God's grace pulls us from the pile of yet another year's consumer debris, we teeter to stand once again on our feet in His strength because we must weed, water, and hoe if the life of Jesus in others is grow.

Farming rule number one says that gardens must be weeded continuously to make them productive. Weeds rob any soil's grow power by crowding out the fruit-bearing plants. Like gardens, our lives must be kept free of life-choking weeds. Jesus cultivated this point in Mark 4:18-19 when He says, "still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word: but the worries of life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Obviously, Jesus puts weed control near the top of His list because He called us " go and bear fruit-fruit that will last" in John 15:16. Certainly, He would not have called us to such a task without a preventative plan to keep us weed free. As with plants, God has carefully designed our lives to become tasty and colorful ingredients in His salad of salvation, which He serves non-stop to the lost, dying, and hungry of our world. However, if we allow weeds and the trappings of this life to push their way in, our once redeemed and beautiful appearance will quickly lose its appeal to those who hunger for God's truth and love. Yet, if we'll simply invite God's Spirit to root out the life-sapping weeds that strive to entrench themselves deep within our lives, He promises to restore hope, grace, and joy to our life message as He immerses us in living water.

Farming rule number two says that gardens must be watered abundantly to keep their plants growing and strong. Research shows that plants wither and rob moisture from within their fruit as they struggle to survive drought. Conversely, well-watered plants produce top quality fruit that radiates life. Yet, it's not really the fruit's enticing exterior that creates its appeal, but rather the life-giving water its cell structure is built upon. Similarly, our life portrait of Christ is merely skin God has neatly stretched over our inner beings, which hopefully, are founded solely on Him. In Matthew 5:6, Jesus says, "blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Again, science shows that dehydrated plants immediately absorb water as it comes, topping off their internal tanks thereby enabling their ability to resume growing fruit. Likewise, we can only produce fruit if we're faithful to absorb Scripture along with spending time with Jesus in prayer. Later, in John 7:38-39, Jesus says, "if a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By these word's implication, it seems reasonable to conclude that our witness for Christ is merely an outflow of God's character that's been implanted within. Therefore, we must thirst in order to be filled and we must be filled in order to have the living waters of life, hope, and God's love flow from within us to our needy world. Yet, we must till the soil to maximize the benefits of weeding and watering the soil of life.

Farming rule number three says that gardens must be hoed to keep their soil fertile and active. For centuries, tilling the soil has been of key import to the overall fruit production process. Hoeing the soil breaks up the hard dry crust on top letting water and air penetrate deep into the root zone. Unfortunately, tilling the soil is hard work that requires determination and commitment. Our spiritual lives are no different. Like tilling, it requires our determined efforts to hack through the crusty exterior of our hearts when we've starved them of God's Word and time with Jesus. Hosea 10:12 challenges us to "...break up our [sic] unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on us [sic]... ." Furthermore, it takes a commitment of our will to surrender our lives to God's purpose instead of our own. To do so requires sacrifice on our part. In love, God cries out to us in II Chronicles 7:14 saying, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." Victory or defeat hangs on the life line of humility. Ours, that is! Fortunately, all of our hard work is not without God's help or hope. In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus lifts our eyes to meet His in saying, "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Therefore, we can rest assured that our loving lord has graciously mad provision for all we'll need to keep our gardens neat and tidy as He produces fruit that lasts in and through our lives. All we must do, is embrace His plan while giving Him permission to do the rest. 

Finally, looking back on a good day's work, we must never forget to clean up our mess, to come back tomorrow, and to keep the weeds of life from getting ahead by leaving our tools in the shed unused. Pulling weeds makes a mess that can trip people up. As a result, we must be careful not to leave the weeds God has pulled out of our lives laying around for others to stumble over. Also, gardening is a daily job. If left undone for very long, it quickly becomes and overwhelming task. By comparison, our relationship with Jesus must be a daily love affair with our Master and King. Glancing outside the garden plot, we see a storage shed standing faithfully for the purpose of preserving our garden tools for ongoing use, not as a place to stash them out of site, or out of mind. If we only have a hit-or-miss relationship with Jesus by ignoring His Word, by failing to pray, or by letting life' worries crowd Him out; our lives will revert to an entangled patch of weeds obscuring the love of Christ from our dying world. Friends, God calls all of us to plant, nurture, and harvest the fruit of His fields. Yet, not matter how hard we weed, water, or hoe; we must remember that only God makes things grow. Have you pulled any weeds lately?


Copyright / BattleCry Ministries - Greg Benner 1998 / All rights reserverd worldwide.  These materials shall not be used or distributed without written permission.

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