Planting for Results

It’s springtime around the Cross-Dubya; and as some of you may have noticed, planting has consumed much of my life lately. Sowing gardens, pastures, and fields, we’ve put a lot of seed in the ground this year; all of it requiring planning, preparation, planting, and prayer. As many know, we pray about everything we do here at our little ranch. I’ve also written about the planning and preparation that goes into crop and forage production; and I’ve written about harvesting what God produces. This week, God brought the words of Mark 4:26-29 (The Parable of the Growing Seed) to mind while cultivating our garden, so we’re going to focus on the planting.

“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)

It seems logical, although admittedly this thought process seems fleeting these days, but the key to planting is understanding what you’re planting and what results you desire. As the photos above show, the results you’re looking for determine what method you use to plant.

If you’re looking to plant uniform, evenly spaced row crops that are more easily maintained, say a cornfield, then a drill like the one pictured here makes sense. You can configure it to preset the space between rows, space between each seed, how many seeds to drop each time, and then covers the seed for you. It even provides row markers so as you go back and forth across the field, you can keep your rows straight and evenly spaced.

If planting grass and clover so God can produce a lush field of rich, green forage for livestock grazing, you might use a broadcast spreader like this one. How you want whatever you plant to grow determines your planting method. Broadcasting provides even, dense coverage across an entire area. Drilling produces a precise, equally spaced, easily maintained row crop that allows for the plant’s maximum growth.

How plants grow is determined by how you plant the seeds. #SowingGod #SeedsOfFaith #Discipleship #CrossDubya Click To Tweet

Applying God’s word to my life as I was weeding grass from the rows of corn and tomatoes, this thought occurred to me. How do I plant the seeds of faith that grow into the legacy I’ll leave behind? I realized that when I’m disciple-making, I drill seeds of discipleship (biblical principles and specific lessons or skills) into that person’s life. When sowing God’s love into the world through the way I live my life, I’m broadcasting seeds of faith to fall upon the various soul conditions of others’ lives (Matthew 13:3-9). Broadcasting is less controlled and covers a much larger area. In both cases, I remind myself that it is God who brings the harvest (1 Corinthians 3:7).

How you sow seeds of faith into others determines how they grow. #SeedsOfFaith #Discipleship #SowingGod #CrossDubya Click To Tweet

As expected, drilling a field of corn, wheat, milo, or cotton requires more preparation of the soil. Before we can plant seeds, we must till, cultivate, fertilize, and sometimes create raised beds. In the same way, preparing to disciple a fellow Christian requires preparation and precise placement of the seeds of faith into their lives. When we seek to spread the gospel of Christ into the world, as Christ charged all Christians with doing, we must only prepare ourselves.

I pray this week that I’ve given you a farmer’s perspective on planting seeds of faith. How you sow is determined by what you hope to reap for God’s kingdom. I pray God’s harvest is plentiful from the seeds of faith we’ve sown into this world and those around us.

God’s blessings,

Signature

 

54 thoughts on “Planting for Results

  1. Another great analogy. I sometimes get frustrated with the time lapse between the planting and the harvesting. Thanks for the reminder that God is on charge of the harvesting. Thank you, my friend.

    1. I think we all can get frustrated as we seem to sometimes wait for God to work in the lives of others, or to answer our prayers. What I’ve learned is that God doesn’t care for my timetable at all. 🙂 I remind myself of how many years it’s taking for Him to mold and make, break apart, re-mold, and re-cast me. I also remember that sometimes His answer to my problem requires work on both ends of the issue, and the other end (person, event, etc.) may be more resistant that I am. I asked God for patience and He uses situations to evoke just the opposite reaction in me to grow me sometimes. God’s blessings my friend; know that you are not alone in your thoughts.

  2. I love this analogy, J.D.! May we all sow mindfully for our desired results. And God, please bless our efforts, for your glory.

  3. J.D., thank you for this reminder about our intention and methodology, as we interact with others in our fallen world. It is so important to discern through the Holy Spirit how He would have us “plant’ in any given situation, so that, come harvest time, we can be joyful “bringing in the sheaves”!

    1. Amen Ms. Gena. While I often have one desire, it’s important to seek and sense God’s direction for that person and the role He wants me to play in carrying out His plan. Great thoughts ma’am.

  4. Your analogies are always spot on – this is how I know you get them directly from the Lord! I am preparing to get my garden in and this gives me such good food for thought as I do!

    1. Thank you Ms. Ann. My posts always seem an answer to my prayers; and I find I have to spend a lot of time going back and checking with the inspiration to make sure that I’m aligning with His will. I seldom know who needs to hear something I have to say/write, but I believe wholeheartedly that God has an intended use for this old tool. I’m just trying to keep in good working order for His use. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

  5. Ahhhh, gardening, not quite the farm quantity, but what I’ve taken up this year. Bought the tiller, brought in the manure, and have a lovely 20×30′ plot. Planned an organized layout and tried germinating seeds in the cold weather inside. Longer story, but the planning and application of my seeds didn’t work very well. Seems the birds found 58 of my 70 corn seeds. None of my tomatoes made the transplant process. But I do have radishes! My dear wife ate the one pea pod worth of peas so far.

    It’s another way God points out to me how little I understand of His kingdom. In our instance, it’s not how much I have, but rather how much He’s in control. Next year my gardening will take root based on this year’s effort. I’ll make sure my seeds aren’t devoured and I don’t plant fragile seedlings until after the frost.

    God is good, and I’m forever learning, especially from you, J.D.

    1. Thank you Mr. Warren. It’s been several years since we put in a garden (pre-Covid); mostly because I would travel in my semi-retirement and it would go to pot before I could return to care for it. They require lots of attention. I’m a bit concerned that my ambition overruled reality and we may have more garden than we need this year. I’m praying our Life Group family at church likes fresh veggies. A friend reminded me of an old adage recently; “Eat what you can, Can what you can’t.” I’m thinking I need to stock up on some Mason jars and Gulf wax this year.

  6. Grandson Rowan and I have been planting seeds in cups. While we work the soil and talk about each seed, we share about how God makes the plants grow, but we need to take care of the plants. Rowan checks the soil every day and is ready to give water to his plants. Your message reminds me that we need to sow those seeds of faith in every moment and continue to take care of them. 🙂

    1. Amen Ms. Melissa. Sounds like you sowing some mighty powerful seeds yourself there. Hoping I get to one day witness the fruit of the seeds your planting; that Rowan sounds like a little fella I’d enjoy talking farming and ranching with. 🙂

    1. Amen, and thank you Ms. Martha. I’ve been enjoying hearing about the fruit that you and Mr. Danny have been cultivating in your granddaughters thrugh your blog ma’am. Fruitful indeed, with a promise of increase with each passing year.

  7. Wonderful pictures of our mission. In my garden my effort with seeds has usually been pitiful. Although more expensive, I stick with bedding plants now. I never put that together with my calling, but you just showed me. My primary calling in discipleship has always been in growing Christians who are already in the church and helping them blossom. Or as Paul said in Ephesians 4:12 equipping the saints for ministry. Thanks for the eye opener.

    1. Amen Ms. Dottie. Our vegetable garden is a mixture of both seeded and bedded plantings. In my pastures, I’ve elected to go with sowing seed. It’s a bit more risky perhaps, but it’s far more cost-effective. For example, I seeded 10 acres of Bermuda grass recently for more summer forage. While perennial, which means the return on investment should occur over several year, the seed itself was over $1,000. Since my labor is free, and we can’t even consider fertilizer (nearly $1,500/ton right now), I’m adding extra prayers for God’s nitrogen-rich storms to provide what we need. So far, so good. Had I sprigged that same acreage, with the same Bermuda grass, I would have easily more than doubled my cost. Since any planting is weather-dependent (i.e., little grows in a drought), I thought it an exercise of faith to depend on God to bring the increase. Our job is to merely sow isn’t it my friend?

  8. This is great. First, I appreciate the explanation of the technology of the drill in planting those big crops. And I loved how you tied it to a Christian’s call to plant seeds of faith. Just as farmers must do lots to the earth in preparation to plant and harvest, we must prepare ourselves in order to successfully plant God’s word in others. I realize I need to be more intentional about it. Thank you.

  9. Thank you for being a “sower of faith,” my friend. You are an example of the fertile soil that Jesus spoke of in the parable of the sower. And then you have spread the seeds of faith to others through your living example, your writings, and your service. You are a “doer” of the Word. Thank you!

    1. Well, I hope to get there some day my friend. 🙂 God sure has His work cut out for Himself though, working through the rocky soil of my soul. Then again, the Holy Spirit is the best cultivator ever! God’s blessings my farming friend.

  10. What a wonderful analogy, J.D. I always learn more about ranch life, and in this post, planning and the right equipment for the seeds you are sowing and the kind of crop you expect. Same is true with our faith and in discipleship. So whether it’s drilling or broadcasting, we are sowers, leaving the harvest to the Lord.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. What tools we use from God is dependent upon the task He has planned for us. He equips us for every good work doesn’t He ma’am? Thank you and God’s blessings to you and Pastor Mike.

  11. J. D., I hadn’t thought about the difference between broadcasting and drilling. Having just driven through beautiful farm land in Pennsylvania, I could picture those rolling hill and some of the interesting farm equipment. I thought of you and the Cross-Dubya. Now I’ll think more carefully of how I sow my seeds in God’s kingdom.

    1. How wonderful to know I have friends to think of and pray for me my friend. Same here whenever I see beautiful, graceful poodles. PA has some amazing farmland don’t they? So glad you enjoyed ma’am.

  12. perhaps an earnest call for discipleship, to ‘walk alongside’ and help nurture as God nurtures us and amen. Thanks J.D., much wisdom here.

  13. You have a wonderful way of using analogies to make your points! And these are excellent points! We must always be willing to sow seeds into others!

  14. Such important truths, J.D. One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 10:5 about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I think I can apply your thoughts to the “weeds” of thought that are the arrows of lies from our Enemy within my own mind.–cast them away. And may also my every word to another be a seed of encouragement and truth. Thank you!

  15. “Sow” helpful, J.D., as I prepare for a small leadership position in my church to disciple others younger in the faith. What I hope to sow into God’s Kingdom will be my focus. Thank you, dear brother!

    1. I’m “sow” glad you enjoyed the post Ms. Kathy. 😀 I’ll be praying your discipleship endeavors my friend. What a blessing it is to help in strengthening another’s faith. I find I grow more than those I mentor though.

  16. Is is easy to get impatient when those seeds are still in the ground. Jesus uses the scripture in Mark as a lesson in patience as well as in harvesting. It is seed, t-i-m-e, and harvest. It’s the time part that can get us down. Thanks for your illustration regarding seeds in the ground and seeds of faith, J.D.

    1. Amen Ms. Barbara. While I was waiting for the collards to finally peek out from the earth, and the lettuce from the raised herb garden, I find myself peeking in on them each day. It’s sort of like yelling “Hurry” at the microwave isn’t it? 🙂 God’s blessings my friend.

  17. I love your analogy in this one. The casting of love far and wide while we make disciples with precisely planted seeds. Such a perfect description for living Christ like, always sowing something. Thanks for the farming education too.

  18. What great pictures of spreading seeds in different ways depending on what crop we want! so clear and helpful in helping to see the difference in discipling compared to spreading God’s love abroad in the world! Thanks for your great lessons from the Cross Dubya! Praying your crops grow well this year!

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy. Am so glad you enjoyed ma’am. God’s blessings. In just three weeks, we have squash, cantaloupe, beans, tomatoes, and peppers all sprouting. God is blessing us mightily.

  19. Love the connection with seed planting and the word of God as we seek to plant it in people’s lives. I’ve often just tossed the word of truth in conversation with no conscious thought about my end goal or the wisdom behind a particular methodology. Thanks for sharing this insight as you continue to tend and nurture His fruitful creation, JD!

  20. Amen to all of the above comments! I’ll add a personal story about my shamrocks. After two years, I had the bright idea to replant them in a pot of richer soil, which resulted in losing every one of them. Out of sentimentality, I kept my original pot, watering and sunning the soil with no hope of seeing another shamrock. Suddenly a sweet green stem popped up, and I had one back! Over the last year, a second one appeared out of nowhere. Then a third. Today I have four more coming up for a total of seven. I call that a miracle!

    May the seeds we cast bring forth a precious harvest for God’s kingdom!

    1. Oh, how I loved reading this Ms. Karen. Often, when we think that seed sown into “rocky soil” and its roots are weak and it gets blown away, God can change the condition of the soil. When that happens, the remnant of what was planted there long ago may yet sprout and bring forth life. I was literally shouting for joy as I read your story. Thank you so much for sharing ma’am.

  21. I’m way late in adding my “Amen” to the abundance of comments that have been sent your way. Like almost al of them, I think of my own gardening and farming experience and enjoyed the visit back to those days. On our little farm, one thing was clear. we loved strawberries, but they weren’t nutritional necessities. Our cows couldn’t sustain themselves on strawberries, and neither could any of the other livestock we depended on for our own sustenance. You made it clear that the planting of seeds is secondary to other vital objectives. I always love that about your windows into God’s truth. There are always larger, more enduring issues in view. Beyond that, thanks for the prayers and encouragement that helped sustain me through one of the more challenging weeks of my life. Things are looking much better at this point, for which I am profoundly grateful to God and to prayer partners like you.

    1. What a blessing it is to see you commenting here this week Mr. Ron. When I hadn’t heard from you last week, I knew something had to be bad wrong for you not to post your stellar Saturday morning blog post at http://www.gallagherspen.com I hated calling you while you were finally getting home from your “challenging week” (I honestly thought you were just resting at home enjoying Ms. Diane’s TLC with lots of ice. Had no idea brother. Knew I was being led to pray all week, but didn’t know why. So glad you’re on the mend sir.

  22. This reminds me of growing up on my Grandpa’s wheat farm and the patience required each step of the way.
    I find myself growing impatient for the harvest. In the meantime, we have time to sow.

    Thanks for another encouraging post.

    Blessings,
    Tammy

  23. Hmmmm . . . interesting concept. Never thought about how I plant my seeds. I tended to focus more on just popping them into the ground and letting God do His work. Will have to contemplate this further.
    Wow! If that is a picture of your field (which I am guessing it is), I am astounded. It is huge! I’m thinking you better sale a book quick and hire another hand! So happy with your recent great news.

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