The bible compares the Christian to a farmer, a soldier and, at one point, to an athlete. A farmer knows exactly what he needs to do get a good harvest. He must plough, harrow, plant, weed and harvest. But he can’t make the crop to grow. Only God causes the growth. Consider this passage from Isaiah 28:23-28
“Give ear and hear my voice, listen and hear my words. Does the farmer plow continually to plant seed? Does he continually turn and harrow the ground? Does he not level its surface and sow dill and scatter cummin and plant wheat in rows, barley in its place and rye within its area? For his God instructs and teaches him properly. For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is the cartwheel driven over cummin; but dill is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a club. Grain for bread is crushed; indeed, he does not continue to thresh it forever. Because the wheel of his cart and his horses eventually damage it, he does not thresh it longer. This also comes from the Lord of hosts, who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great”. NASU
The reason the farmer is able to plough, harrow and plant different crops using different methods is because His God instructs and teaches him properly. The farmer knows what his job entails and that each crop must be treated differently.
In 1 Timothy 4:7b we are commanded to “…train yourself to be Godly”. A soldier who entangles himself in the affairs of civilian life cannot please his master (2 Tim 2:4). A farmer who ignores to practice what he knows to be true cannot blame God when he gets a poor harvest. What does training oneself for the purpose of Godliness look like for the Christian worker? What does appealing to/begging people, on Christ’s behalf, to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20) look like? How does one know when one has raised a spiritual generation of laborers? When is the job done? On the cross, Christ declared that his assignment was done. When Paul left Ephesus after 3 years of ministry, he was sure his work was done – even though everything was not left neat and tidy.
As I start a new term as Country Leader, we in leadership are wrestling with these questions with a view of bringing clarity, courage and impetus to our laborers as we advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we engage with the scriptures, please pray with us to bring clarity and focus to these and other important questions that will enable us measure the progress of the fulfillment of our calling.