BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“And He said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come’” (Mark 4:26-29 NKJV).
From this passage, the responsibility of the farmer is very clear. First, is to plant seeds, and second, is to harvest the crops. The farmer may go ahead to weed the farm, irrigate the farm and even apply manure or fertilizer, but he cannot grow the seeds he has planted to become crops that he can harvest.
Though, in the passage above, Jesus was speaking about the Kingdom of heaven, using farming as an analogy, there are lessons to learn from this as regards sowing and reaping.
From what Jesus said, and which I think you can relate to, it is not the responsibility of the farmer to grow seeds. It is the responsibility of the soil or earth to grow seeds. All the farmer can do to enhance the yield is to look for good seeds and good soil, apply fertilizer and also weed the farm. He cannot grow seeds.
Genesis 1:11 states a truth nobody can contradict as regards the soil growing the seed. “Then God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’ and it was so” (NKJV). Did you see that? It is the responsibility of the earth to produce all kinds of plants – that’s why God commanded it to do so.
In Matthew 13:3-9, the sower’s responsibility was to sow and he did that. However, the soil (the heart) where the seeds (the Word of God) were sown made the difference. “Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: ‘Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (NKJV).
Of all the different soils where the sower sowed the seeds, only the seeds that fell on the good soil yielded a crop. Even then, verse 8 tells us that the seeds that fell on the good soil also yielded different amounts of harvest – some hundredfold, some sixtyfold and some thirtyfold.
The varying amount of harvest was not the fault of the farmer. If we consider that the seeds (the Word of God) were of the same quality, the differences in the crops produced by the seeds could only have been determined by the soil. It had nothing to do with the farmer. The actual growing of the seeds is not the job of the farmer. That is why in Genesis 2:15, the Bible says God put Adam in the garden to cultivate it and take care of it; He didn’t ask Adam to grow the plants.
In addition to a good soil, most plants need water in varying amounts to grow, and apart from man’s device of irrigation or watering, God will send the rain at the appropriate time for the plant to grow. It is not the responsibility of man to produce rain – he cannot. “You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it” (Psalm 65:9 NKJV). The rain that God sends enhances the harvest that is produced. When rain falls on the earth, it causes the grass to grow (Psalm 72:6). Referring to God, Psalm 147:8 says, “Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains” (NKJV).
God is the one who prepares the rain that will supply the water that the seeds planted need to grow and He will do that. He won’t ask man to plant the seeds and also make rain that will water it. “‘It shall come to pass in that day that I will answer,’ says the LORD; ‘I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth. The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil; They shall answer Jezreel” (Hosea 2:21-22 NKJV). Did you see that? It is responsibility of the earth to produce grain, new wine, and oil.
Until God sends rain upon the earth, it would be difficult for the earth to yield her increase. It is not the responsibility of the farmer to bring rain; it’s God’s work and He knows the right time to do it. Until He does so, no seed planted will yield any harvest.
Don’t be weary
What am I trying to say in this message? Many people are becoming weary about the seeds they have been sowing – their money, their time, their kindness, etc. They have been doing good deeds according to the Word of God. They have been sowing in cash and in kind; and they’re becoming frustrated because they have not seen the harvest they have been told they would reap. I am not talking about those who are playing games with God. I am talking about those who sincerely love God and are faithfully serving Him.
They are being reproached by those who cannot see the impact and positive outcome of all their sowing, good deeds done in the name of God, both in the house of God and outside. They are being tempted to join the people Prophet Malachi referred to in Malachi 3:14: “You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance” (NKJV).
My word to such people is “KEEP SOWING; YOUR HARVEST SHALL COME.” Maybe you are such a person and you have come under pressure or have become agitated about your seeds because you have been taught that you can determine when your harvest will come. You have fixed a time and the time is past without any harvest. Your experience is akin to what Prophet Jeremiah says in Jeremiah 8:20: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (KJV). Somebody may have even prophesied to you the date your harvest would come and it didn’t come. That is not the fault of God; it is the fault of those that are speaking on behalf of God what He, most probably, hasn’t sent them.
Giving or sowing is biblical; and if you sow according to the Word of God, your seeds can never be lost. God determines when and how the harvest will come. All you need to do, as the farmer Jesus mentioned in Mark 4:26-29, is to sow your seed – a quality seed as the Spirit of God leads you. Keep sowing it into good ground like the good ground that gave that sower of farmer hundredfold, sixtyfold and thirty fold harvest. Keep sowing your seeds – don’t be weary. Any seed you sincerely sow in the name of the LORD can never be lost. You can rest assured of that.
You will recall that in Mark 4:26-29, Jesus didn’t say that after sowing, the farmer was anxious or worried about the whether or not he would get a harvest. The farmer didn’t’ set a time for his harvest either. God knew when he needed the harvest and God is not a late comer. The harvest will not come a minute later than its appointed time. That farmer was so relaxed that the Bible says he slept by night and rose by day, and the seed sprouted and grew, while the farmer himself did not know how. “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:28-29 NKJV). Please take note of that phrase: for the earth yields crops by itself.
Did you notice the progression of how the harvest eventually came: first, the blade, and then the head and after it the full grain. Moreover, when the grain is ripe, the farmer can go in to start harvesting. Seeds don’t get ready for harvest overnight. It takes some time, depending on the type of seed planted. That’s why the farmer needs to be patient; he can’t be in a hurry.
There are things that happen outside the control and knowledge of the farmer that bring about the desired harvest. If this were not so, the rich man in the parable of Jesus in Luke 12:16-21 shouldn’t have been overwhelmed by the harvest he got. His harvest surprised him; he got more than what he had expected. And because he couldn’t manage his success, which he wasn’t wholly responsible for, he lost it and lost his soul.
Let me encourage you not to become disillusioned by the delay in your harvest. If you have sown your seed according to the Word of God – you have sown it generously, cheerfully, willingly – just keep sowing. Don’t give up because you are yet to see the result of past sowing – your money, your time, your material things that you gave to the church and to individuals in the church and outside the church – to Christians and to non-Christians. God hasn’t forgotten your seed; it only appears so. “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:25 NKJV).
God will send His rain upon your seeds and the soil you planted it and at the appropriate time, your harvest will come. It may not happen at your set time (this is one way we weary ourselves), it may not happen in your own way. God determines when, how, where and what. Don’t let the testimonies of others put you under pressure that you begin to accuse God. God has not forgotten you. He is no man’s debtor.
Hear what Jesus said: “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone – a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives” (John 12:24 NLT). Your seeds must die before they will begin to germinate and yield bountiful harvest.
Your harvest is coming
So don’t stop your good deeds because you are yet to receive any reward. God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him, and He will reward you (Hebrews 11:6). It may appear late in your eyes (God doesn’t follow your calendar), but God will send your reward at the right time.
As I have said, you cannot grow your seeds; you cannot make rain that will water your seeds. You can only pray that the Lord will send rain upon your ground. “Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone” (Zechariah 10:1 NKJV). Prophet Zechariah asked the people to pray for physical rain because in those days the harvest was not due until the latter rain fell.
Until God’s rain falls upon your seed, your harvest will not be ripe. So you can pray for God’s rain to water your seeds. The Bible says Elijah prayed for physical rain and God answered him. “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17-18 NKJV).
It is not out of place to pray for spiritual rain to fall on your seeds and your ground. It shows your recognition or acknowledgment of God as the only giver of your desired increase. Hear what Paul said about his ministry and that of Apollos: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NKJV). Apollos could only water; he couldn’t make rain! God sent the increase neither Paul nor Apollos did.
A proud and self-sufficient person doesn’t pray. Prayer shows your faith in God. That’s why you need to wait and not be weary. Just as the farmer, having done all he needs to do and all that he can do, needs to wait patiently for rain and his harvest, so you need to wait for the harvest of all the seeds you have sown. “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7-8 NKJV).
In this context, wait patiently for the coming of the LORD to give you the harvest for the seeds you have sown. Keep sowing and keep praying. God will not fail you. He will give you the harvest that is due for this dispensation. You can’t have all the reward in this flesh. There is the harvest that is beyond this time waiting for you. However, God won’t deny you the reward that is meant for you to enjoy while you’re still alive.
Genesis 8:22 says while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease. The assurance of your harvest coming is immutable; the certainty of your ground yielding its increase is rock solid. Zechariah 8:12 says, “For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew- I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these” (NKJV). The LORD will come to you, and you will possess all that is yours from the Him. Your trees shall yield their fruit, and your earth shall yield her increase (Ezekiel 34:27).
Friend, don’t be weary in your sowing. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9 NKJV). Rather than become weary and give up sowing further, keep sowing as you have opportunity as verse 10 of Galatians 6 says. Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop” (NLT).
I say again, don’t be weary; position yourself for a great harvest. “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13 NKJV). Don’t let the mockery or despise of others cause you to become weary thereby discouraging your soul (Hebrews 12:3).
You might have been crying as you sowed seed, but you will soon get an overwhelming, mind-boggling harvest! “He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6 NKJV). Your weeping may endure for a night, but joy is coming in the morning (Psalm 30:5b). The LORD will give you what is good; and your land will yield its increase (Psalm 85:12). It will happen for you in Jesus’ name. “Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him” (Psalm 67:6-7 NKJV).
Recognize your harvests
There is no doubt that the principle of sowing and reaping works. If you apply this principle according to the Word of God, you will reap your harvest. Anyone who says that he has not received any harvest since he has been sowing didn’t recognize his harvests. He could have been looking for something else. God determines the time and the form of our harvests. He knows what is best for us. He knows what we need and is not obligated to give us what we want.
Your harvest does not have to be monetary or material. God may give you your harvest in form of promotion, healing and good health, deliverance, protection, favour, divine ideas, etc. Some people may not see any of these as their harvest if they have a different harvest in mind. In the light of this, it would be wrong for anyone to claim that he has not received any harvest since he has been sowing. Some things people have enjoyed were harvests of the seeds they had sown, but they didn’t see the relationship between the two. Keep sowing; your harvest will come.
Like the farmer, learn to sleep by night and rise by day trusting God that He is working on your seeds. Relax; God is working on your case! Your harvest shall come in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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