“A Good Farmer”

Posted by on Sep 15, 2002

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

September 15, 2002

Sunday Morning

 

“A Good Farmer”

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-7

Scripture Text:      2 Timothy 2:6-7

 

Introduction:

 

A.    I don’t know whether you’ve noticed this or not, but in the first part of 2 Timothy 2, Paul uses at least three analogies  (comparisons) for the purpose of illustrating what is involved in living the Christian life.

1.  First of all, he compares the believer to a soldier.

2.  Look again at Vrs. 3-4, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ….No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier

3.  In other words, just like a good soldier, the believer should endure hardness (persevere in hardships).

4.  The believer should also be careful not to allow himself to become entangled with the affairs of this life (distracted by the things of this world).

5.  And so, Paul compares the believer to a soldier.

 

B.    Paul also compares the believer to an athlete.

1.  Look again at Vrs. 5, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

2.  In other words, just like a good athlete, the believer should be very careful to play by the rules (God’s rules for living the Christian life).

3.  It is only when he plays by the rules that he has any hope of being crowned (rewarded)

4.  And so, Paul compares the believer to an athlete.

 

C.    We now come to Vrs. 6 and notice that Paul uses a third analogy.

1.  In this verse, he compares the believer to a farmer.

2.  Look again at Vrs. 6, “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.”

3.  The word “husbandman” means “farmer” and the word “fruits” means “crops.

4.  So what the verse is actually saying is this, “The farmer who labors must be the first one to partake of his crops.”

 

D.    But someone asks, “Wait a minute, pastor! How are we, as believers, like a farmer?”

1.  Well, think about it.

2.  This world is like a giant field.

3.  Do you remember our Lord’s parable of the wheat and the tares? (Mat. 13:24-30)

4.  It seems that a man planted wheat in one of his fields, but while he slept that night, his enemy came and sowed tares (weeds) in the same field.

5.  When the wheat came up, the tares came up with it.

6.  His servants asked him, “What do you want us to do?” He answered, “Let the wheat and the weeds grow together, and when harvest times come, we will then separate the two.”

7.  Later on in that same chapter, when Jesus was explaining the meaning of the parable, He said this, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;…The field is the world(Mat. 13:37-38)

8.  And so, this world is like one big giant field.

 

E.    Not only is this world like a giant field, but we, as believers, have been given the responsibility of planting seed and then reaping a harvest in this field.

1.  The seed that I am referring to, of course, is the gospel!

2.  Jesus put it like this in John 4:35-36, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest….And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together

 

F.    And so, we, as believers, are like farmers.

1.  God has given us a field to work (the world).

2.  God has given us precious seed to plant in this field (the gospel of Jesus Christ).

3.  God has given us the promise that if we will be faithful to plant the seed, one day we will reap a harvest (not a harvest of wheat or corn, but a harvest of souls).

4.  I love Psa. 126:6 which says, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him

 

G.    Now with all of this in mind, there are three things that can be said about a good farmer. First of all, a good farmer…

 

I.       Works Hard.

 

A.    While I’ve never done farm work myself (at least not for an extended period of time), I have been told by those who have that farming is one of the most physically demanding of all occupations.

1.  First of all, farmers work long hours.

2.  A farmer’s day begins at daylight and most of the time does not end until dark.

3.  Unlike many other occupations, farming is not an 8 to 5, five day a week vocation.

4.  (Illus.- Take dairy farming, for an example. Dairy cows have to be milked twice a day, seven days a week. You can’t say to a dairy cow, “Okay, Bessie, the weekend is now here, I want you to stop making milk until Monday morning!” Somebody has to milk those cows seven days a week.)

5.  Not only do farmers work long hours, but a lot of the work they do is quite strenuous.

6.  (Illus.- I’ll never forget an experience that I had when I was the pastor of the East Post Oak Baptist Church near Blossom, Texas. One of my church members called me up late one afternoon and said, “Pastor, I could sure use your help. I’ve got a field full of hay that I absolutely must get in the barn before it rains tomorrow.” It seems that one of his hired hands had quit him that morning and he found himself in a bind. Well, being a caring pastor as I was, I said, “Sure, I will help!” If I had only known beforehand what I was in for, I would have thought twice about it. Let me tell you something, putting hay in a barn is hard work!)

7.  But the point is this: farming is hard work.

 

B.    Did you realize that the same thing is true when it comes to the spiritual realm?

1.  Not only is farming hard work, but ministry can be hard work as well. (Amen?)

2.  Look again at the first part of Vrs. 6 of our text, “The husbandman that laboureth…”

3.  In other words, “The farmer who works hard…”

4.  Again, let me say that ministry can be hard work!

5.  (Illus.- If you don’t believe that, then ask any one of our Olympian leaders. They just hosted their third annual Olympian Challenge. Ask them what all is involved in hosting an Olympian Challenge. Ask them about all the planning and preparation that goes into it. Ask them how tired they were at the end of the day yesterday. Ministry can be hard work.)

6.  (Illus.- Is you don’t believe that, then ask any one those who were involved in this summer’s Vacation Bible School. Ask them how much time and effort went into getting ready for Bible school. Ask them about the constant rushing, the meals eaten on the run and the late hours. Ask them how tired they were at the end of the week. I don’t know about them, but when Friday evening ends, I always breathe a huge sigh of relief!)

7.  And this is just a couple of examples.

8.    The point is: ministry can be hard work.

 

C.    Now this raises a question.

1.  If ministry can be hard work, why then do we do it?

2.  Why do our Olympian leaders plan an Olympian Challenge year after year?

3.  Why do we have a Vacation Bible School year after year?

4.  Why do others who are involved in ministry in our church report for duty week after week after week?

5.  If it is such hard work, why then do we do it?

6.  We do it (or should do it) for two reasons.

7.  First of all, we do it for the Lord! (Amen?)

8.  The Bible says in Col. 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men

9.  (Illus.- This is why I have never been able to understand those who quit doing ministry simply because someone in the church offends them or in some way hurts their feelings. You see, if they were doing it for the Lord, it wouldn’t make any difference. Would it???)

10.  And so, first and foremost, we do ministry for the Lord.

11.  But there is another reason.

12.  We also do ministry for souls! (Amen?)

13.  (Illus.- Not too many weeks ago Bro. Eric and I were out knocking doors and it was REALLY hot. As I wiped the sweat from my brow, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Why are we doing this?” And then almost immediately the answer came to me, we are doing this for souls.)

14.  This is why, even though ministry can be hard and can be tiring, we must not quit!

15.  We must not quit because souls are depending on us.

 

D.    And so, the first thing we notice about a good farmer is that he works hard.

 

E.    Not only does a good farmer work hard, but he also…

 

II.      Waits Patiently.

 

A.    Farmers are some of the most patient people in the world.

1.  Why is this true?

2.  It’s true because farmers have to do a lot of waiting.

3.  While they plant their seed in the spring, they have to wait until the fall for the harvest.

4.  They have to wait for the seed to sprout.

5.  They have to wait for the tender plant to grow.

6.  They have to wait for the seed pods to develop.

7.  Now this does not mean that farmers sit around doing nothing while they are waiting (there’s plenty of work to be done on a farm during that time), but it does mean that farmers do a lot of waiting.

8.  This is why they are some of the most patient people in the world.

 

B.    You know, those of us who are involved in ministry also have to learn patience. (Amen?)

1.  Why?

2.  Because when we plant the seed of the gospel, it usually takes time for that seed to produce a harvest.

3.  Turn with me to Jam. 5:7-8, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain….Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

 

C.    Why is patience so important when it comes to the Lord’s work?

1.  It’s important because without patience, one will likely become discouraged and quit.

2.  (Illus.- As a pastor, there have been many times when someone has come to me and said something similar to this, “Pastor, I quit.” or “Pastor, I resign.” or “Pastor, I can’t do it anymore!” Of course, the first question I ask them is, “Why do you want to quit?” Many times this is what they told me. “Pastor, I feel like I’m just wasting my time. I work and I pray week after week after week, and it just doesn’t appear as though I’m making any difference whatsoever.” My advice to these Christians is always the same, “Don’t quit. Be patient. Be faithful in doing what you know in your heart God wants you to do, and eventually you will see a harvest!”)

3.  But someone asks, “Pastor, how can you be so sure!”

4.  I can be sure because of the promises of God’s Word.

5.  I’ve already quoted Psa. 126:6, but let me quote it again, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him

6.  Did you notice the word “doubtless”?

7.  It doesn’t say WHEN the harvest will come, but it says that without a doubt it WILL come!

8.  Now listen to Gal. 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not

 

D.    Someone says, “But pastor, I am tired!” Don’t quit, because in due season you will reap if you faint not!

1.  Someone says, “But pastor, I don’t see that I’m making any difference.” Don’t quit, because in due season you will reap if you faint not!

2.  Someone says, “But pastor, I feel like I’m wasting my time.” Don’t quit, because in due season you will reap if you faint not!

3.  Don’t quit! Don’t quit! Don’t quit!

4.  Souls are depending on you, don’t quit!

 

E.    What’s really sad is the fact that many believers have quit, and some of them quit when they were on the very verge of reaping a great harvest.

 

F.    And so, a good farmer waits patiently.

1.  He works hard.

2.  He waits patiently.

G.    Finally, notice that a good farmer…

 

III.    Waives The Credit.

 

A.    You know, basically there are two kinds of farmers.

1.  First of all, there is the farmer who looks at his harvest and says, “Look what I have done! I’ve worked hard. I’ve waited patiently. I’ve reaped a great harvest! Look what I have done!”

2.  But there is another kind of farmer.

3.  This farmer looks at his harvest and says, “Look what God has done!”

4.  You see, this farmer realizes that if it hadn’t been for God’s goodness, he never would have had a harvest.

5.  This farmer realizes that even though he worked hard and waited patiently, it was God who gave the increase.

 

B.    When it comes to the Lord’s work, that’s the kind of farmer that we should be.

1.  The kind of farmer who waives the credit for himself, and instead gives all the credit to God. (Amen?)

2.  Turn with me to 1 Cor. 3:5-7.

3.  It seems that there was a division within the church at Corinth.

4.  One of the things that they were arguing about was who was the greatest preacher, Paul or Apollos.

5.  Notice what Paul told them, beginning with Vrs. 5, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?…I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase….So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase

 

C.    Listen to me, servant of the Lord.

1.  We must be very careful that when the harvest comes, we do not try to take any of the credit for ourselves, but instead give all the credit and all the glory to God.

2.  We are nothing and without the Lord we can do nothing, but God can do anything!

 

Conclusion

 

A.    What have we learned about a good farmer?

1.  A good farmer works hard (ministry can be hard).

2.  A good farmer waits patiently (ministry requires patience).

3.  A good farmer waives the credit (God deserves all the credit).

 

B.    Do you know what’s sad?

1.  The fact that most believers are not even in the field.

2.  They are not planting, and because they are not planting, they are not reaping.

3.  They are too busy with their own lives doing their own thing that they don’t have the time (or the desire) to work in God’s field.

4.  Jesus put it like this, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few(Mat. 9:37)

5.  How about you, friend?

6.  Are you saved?

7.  And if you are saved, are you working in God’s field?

C.    (Prayer & Invitation)