Preparing for Planting Now?
Written By: Chris Mace
Although it is still winter here in Maine, gardeners are looking at seed catalogues, and farmers are thinking ahead to spring planting and dreaming about the fruits of their labor. Some Aroostook farmer sowed (and most importantly painstakingly cultivated) this beautiful field of blossoming potato plants shown in the photo.
Knowledge of seed types, best planting conditions, and proper soil care are crucial to assure the best possible harvest. Ancient Jewish prophets knew this because they lived in agrarian societies from which they drew many prophetic illustrations teaching spiritual truths.
Hosea spoke of the havoc and turmoil engendered by the wickedness of people who ignored God: “They sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). History has repeatedly shown that when societies lose their God-consciousness, self reigns, spiritual principles are broken, and untoward consequences result. Fulfilling urges and achieving wants without regard to God or our neighbors or our redemptive needs will bring disruption and unhappiness.
Where there is no love or compassion, there will be injustice. Jealousy, divisiveness, and discord will erupt in rebellion and war. Unforgiveness and hatred will lead to vengefulness. Breaches of morality will result in shame and hurt. When there are no absolutes and a lack of moral framework, there will be anarchy and crime. Confusion will beget chaos. We will not be at peace with others or ourselves. The Apostle Paul captured that thought in his letter to the Galatian believers: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7–10)
Christ used farming imagery in his teachings. His words are seeds sown into human hearts of various soil types. Some seed falls by the wayside because there is neither understanding or pursuit of belief. Rocky soil hearts allow the stresses and difficulties of life to interfere with developing strong roots of persistent faith. Thorn infested soil symbolizes a heart choosing worldly things over God. But there is good soil. Some hearts hear, understand, are transformed by belief, endure, and yield faith’s fruit of peace and kindness and patience and love.
We all have a heart response to God’s Good News. We may have no interest in or be callous about Christ’s Gospel, but to delay or neglect consideration is just as dangerous for us as it was for those who ignored God in Israel during the days of Jeremiah, who saw looming disaster and lamented: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved”(Jeremiah 8:20).
Jesus’ answer to that dilemma is that “ Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) If we choose God’s way, we will reap the ultimate harvest of eternal life. (Galatians 6: 8-10)