Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reckless Farming

A couple of months ago I heard the District Superintendent (that is, for the Methodist Church) for the Pensacola area share his thoughts on the parable of the sower. For those not familiar, the parable tells of a farmer casting seed on different types of soil: the path, where it was quickly taken by birds; the rocks, where it couldn't take root; the thorns, where it was choked and overwhelmed; and the good soil, where it bore fruit exponentially. He said that Christians always tell this as the parable of the seed-- they ask which kind of soil am I? Will my seed bear fruit?-- But he wanted to redirect our attention to the sower.
His point was our God is a reckless farmer, and as ministers, we need to be too. When God goes and cast seed, he throws in on the path, on top of the shed, over in the chicken coup, some into the creek-- he throws it all over the place.
Compare that to a farmer who goes out to sow, but upon arriving finds huge rocks. So he spends all day clearing the rocks. Then he finds some thorns-- so he goes for hours more pulling out thorns. Pretty soon there's no daylight left, and he hasn't planted anything. As ministers, we want to wait for the conditions to be right, and we often make excuses that we will minister when certains criteria are met, but that is not how we are called to be. We are to be reckless farmers sowing into areas where we couldn't dream of a seed taking root.

Phase Shift: So I've been thinking about this this week. Just a couple days ago, a youth that has been into massive trouble (I can't describe to you all the legal, emotional, and physical ramifications that go with this trouble. Suffice it to say, jailtime is being served by someone else because of this trouble) decides she is leaving us. Not only that, she sees NOTHING wrong with what has been going on in her life. AND not only that, her mother is totally paddling up that certain river in Egypt--what's it called?...oh yeah: de-nial-- and tells her and us that nothing needs to change.
This is supremely heartbreaking. When you can see the answer, and you know the seed's been sown, it's hard to see the birds come take the sapling away. I've been working with this person for over 2 years. But I remember there is hope. There is a Jewish saying that goes something like this: You can't plant a seed in someone's heart. You can only place the seeds on top and wait for the heart to break for them to fall in.

Though my paraphrase is loose, that's the saying I'm thinking on today. This person's heart will one day have to break. All of our hearts have to break at some point. Otherwise, nothing will ever change. Until then, we have to keep being reckless farmers.