Aug2WedAugust 2, 2017
At our final small group book study, we took some time to reflect upon the reality that God’s work is often like farming. There is a time for planting (whether asking in prayer or investing in disciple-making friendship). There is a time for waiting to see what God is going to do with our small efforts. Then there is a time of harvest in which we get to see and benefit from the fruit which God has produced. If we step back and observe seasons of life rather than days or hours, it is much easier to see how God has been at work.
Our discussion emphasized the fact that answered prayer or spiritual growth is often a very long process – and a process for which we typically have very little patience. Yet God is much more like a patient farmer than a cosmic vending machine.
Planting, waiting and harvesting are not just good analogies for our prayer lives or individual disciple-making efforts. They are good analogies for church life as a whole. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he emphasized that “he planted the seed, another co-worker watered the church but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
I love this analogy and this is how I have been approaching pastoral ministry at FMC over these four years. I’ve been doing my best to serve as an irrigation tool to bring life giving water upon your spiritual growth, a spade to keep us all from getting choked by the weeds of sin and greed, an agent to spread fertilizer for deeper roots and stronger stems, and eyes to recognize when the Lord is producing fruit. Due to the size of our ‘field’ and Jesus command to make disciples, I’ve also been investing time into various ‘workers’ to do some of the same kind of work. Then I’ve been praying for God to produce the growth.
I praise the Lord that since our family arrived at FMC in August of 2013, I can see visible signs of growth and fruit. I hope that you can too!
All of this means that my goal (and more importantly God’s goal) for your life is that you would grow up in Jesus and produce visible fruit which multiplies. Is that your goal? Whether it be on Sunday mornings or occasional visits or face-to-face Bible studies, this is what I’ve been after – growth and multiplication.
However, I have also become aware over the past two years, areas of our ‘field’ which need more attention. This is why I’m so excited that Tom Linderman is joining us as our ‘Pastor of Family Life.’ He will be giving his full-time efforts towards growth and multiplication in the area of children, youth and parent ministry (and the volunteers in these areas). This will allow me to focus on areas which are often overshadowed by the influx of new families and children to FMC.
Needless to say, more irrigation, digging and fertilization are coming soon!
Yet, let’s not forget that God is ultimately the one who procures the growth. This is why I pray for you with persistence and with patience. I also encourage you to do the same. We are entering a new season of church life. Let’s keep growing, waiting and multiplying together so that God’s work becomes even more visible within the field of First Mennonite Church.