Farmers and Pastors
Jesus talked a lot about agriculture. For some reason, lessons learned by farmers are also the lessons needed by pastors. Perhaps, instead of comparing ourselves to successful CEO’s, we would do better by asking what kind of farmers we would be.
What wisdom does a local farmer have that the pastor of a local church would need?
First, farmers have to choose good soil. Let’s face it, some dirt just grows better crops. Other dirt grows certain crops better than others. A successful farmer is a good “dirtologist.” They understand good dirt, bad dirt and what makes the difference.
In the same way, local pastors have to be able to discern which people are most open to the Spirit’s work. Too often we look for “successful” people the same way any secular organization would. Yet, God’s ways are not our ways and He rarely chooses people the same way the world does (look at Gideon, David and the disciples). Pastors must learn to look for souls who are ready and open to what God is doing.
Second, choose good seed. Soil, however good, won’t overcome the genetic flaws of bad seed. Bad seed means a bad crop. Whatever is planted comes up (See Galatians 6:7). Pastors are given the awesome privilege to speak into people’s lives. Let us prayerfully commit to place nothing in our peoples’ lives but the pure gospel of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection.
Third, work your field. There’s no such thing as a lazy farmer—not a successful one anyway. Water levels have to be monitored, weeds have to be removed, insects and other varmints have to be controlled. There is always something to do. People live in a difficult world. Life happens. Once planted, the seed must be nurtured and protected until fruition.
Fourth, learn patience. Growing crops is time consuming and can’t be rushed. Once the farmers have done all they can do, they simply have to wait. True life change—transformative life change—takes a long time. Pastors in local churches should learn to take longer views of leadership. Change has to be measured in years, not in months and days. God’s time is marked in seasons, not minutes and hours.
And lastly, celebrate the harvest! Have you ever been in a farmer’s home after the harvest has been brought in? Everyone gets new clothes and a big party is announced. Everyone shows up and you won’t believe the food! Church life should be much the same way. Yes, we work long and hard, but no one should celebrate like we do! Our joy reflects the joy of heaven—of God Himself—and mirrors the moment the Father will celebrate the day all of His children come home.
Farmers can teach local pastors a lot. Like farmers, we plant seeds and work for the harvest. Maybe they are better examples for us than successful CEOs.
This brings up a good question: What kind of farmer would you make?