So, neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:7)
I will never forget our drive north in 2008. As we drove through Iowa, heartbreak overtook us. Fields of corn and soybeans were transformed into lakes. Barns and farmhouses were sitting on what appeared to be little islands, and there were lots of stranded cattle. Our eyes and hearts couldn’t take it all in.
By the time the waters receded, 85 of Iowa’s 99 counties had been declared federal disaster areas, 2.5 to 3 million acres of corn and soybeans were underwater, and an estimated 20 tons of soil per acre were lost.
If farmers have a lot to teach us about science, hard work and patience, they have even more to teach us about faith.
God’s word has a lot to say about farming, often equating the work of a farmer to that of a soul winner. God created the world, but scripture tells us he planted the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). He is the world’s first farmer.
In Matthew 15:13, Jesus reminded his disciples of this truth: Every plant that my heavenly father has not planted will be rooted up.
Repeatedly, I’m brought back to that truth when I hand out walking sticks and share the story of the beads. Whether it is 10 folks or 100, I’m not the planter. God is. I have no reason to be proud when he uses me, but I have every reason to be humble that God would use someone like me.
It’s often difficult to walk away from a new believer. When an event is over, we pack up our walking sticks and leave town with no more control over a new believer’s growth than the Iowa farmer had over the flood of 2008. We always pray for each new believer, but 1 Corinthians 3:7 makes it clear that neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
The planter of the Garden of Eden continues to plant, grow and harvest. And he uses people like us, showering us with the greatest joy this side of heaven. Every time we pray with a new believer: Forgive my sins and come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
The Singers are fieldmen for Fellowship of Christian Farmers International in Punta Gorda, Fla.