The Farmer – Part 1 – The Sower

Title: The Farmer - Part 1 - The Sower

Bible Book: Psalms 126 : 6

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Witnessing; Discipleship; Following Jesus


The Farmer - Part 1- The Sower

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Read with me 2 Corinthians 9:6:

"6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

Also, note Luke 8:5:

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it"

And we read in Psalm 126:6:

"He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him."

We have been looking at a series of messages entitled, 'Portraits of the Saints" and we come now to a message on the disciple as a farmer. We will look at this in two parts, one this week and the second part of the message next week. The idea of a disciple being a farmer is discovered in both the Old and New Testaments. It stands to reason then that it will require two messages to describe some of the aspects of this Christian portrait from the scripture.

The Christian is like a farmer in several ways, but today we are looking specifically at the Christian as a sower of seeds, and a reaper of harvests. In fact, out text points out very clearly that the Lord looks on us as spiritual farmers with the responsibility to plant the seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of men and women, and then we are to watch for the Lord to provide the harvest in due season.

I am convinced that most of us as Christians do not witness as we should because of the fear rejection or the fear of facing questions we are not prepared to answer. Additionally, many do not witness because they do not feel worthy or qualified to do so.

I heard about a preacher who went to make a visit one day. He arrived at the home and knocked on the door. The woman inside thought it was her husband and called out, “Is that you, Angel?” The preacher replied, “No, I am not an angel, but I am from the same department.”

Most of us know we are not angels, in fact we are not sure we are even in the same department as angels. This mistaken idea can make us feel unworthy of speaking for the Lord. I want you to see today that the potential for a great harvest is in the quality of the seed and not totally left to the quality of the farmer.

Let's look at our Christian life as God’s Farmers. To do this, I want to point out four words which can help us understand what planting God’s seed is all about.

I. The Farmer and the Word GO

Dr. A.T. Pierson wrote, “A light that does not shine, a spring that does not flow, a germ that does not grow, is no more an anomaly than that of a life in Christ which does not witness for Christ.” Believers are to let the light of Christ shine through them in this world. A true disciple is a witness to the grace and goodness of God to a world in dire need of the new birth.

A. The Scriptures State that we CAN Go

Matthew 4:19 says, “I will make you fishers of men.”

If we are being shaped by Jesus, we will be witnesses. If cease to be shaped by the Lord we will cease to share His Gospel message.

Frankly, you can’t catch fish if you don’t GO fishing. Jesus leads us to where the fish are – where lost people with a need for salvation can be found.

B. The Son Shows that we ARE to Go

Jesus left heaven to bring the Gospel to us. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Then He told us to "follow Him." To follow in the footsteps of Jesus is to get out of our comfort zone and to go where people need salvation.

Jesus is the epitome of what it means to go into the world to share the gospel message. The more we are like Him, the more we will share the Good News of God's saving grace in Christ.

C. The Spirit Strengthens us that we MAY Go

Jesus said that the Spirit empowers His people to be witnesses for Him. Now this is an important issue when it comes to witnessing to people who need Jesus. The power to accomplish the work of bringing people to faith in Jesus is not concentrated in our human abilities. God's Holy Spirit indwells His redeemed people and his Spirit has the power necessary to bring people to believing faith. Interestingly, however, God does not release His Spirit to do salvation work without a faithful witness. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of god, but how can they hear except one be sent. We are sent to share His message of love and grace, and when we go willingly and faithfully the Holy Spirit will work to bring people to salvation. I have seen Him do that many times in my life and ministry.

 But, let me share another thought about the Christian as a farmer ...

II. The Farmer and the Word WOE

A farmer’s work is not easy, for he earns his bread by the sweat of his brow. The Christian witness who spreads the seed of the Gospel will find it necessary to resist seeking comfort and ease.

The only motivation which will cause us to overcome the hindrances to witnessing is to get the same passion within us which resides in the heart of God. That means we have to be near His heart.

Just think of it.

  • Jesus wept over a man – a friend named Lazarus who had died.
  • He wept over a nation – he wept over the city of Jerusalem.
  • He wept over the world – in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to the cross.

Real men and women do not mind tears in the defense of souls,  yet sadly few believers weep over the lost these days.

A young preacher was concerned that his ministry lacked power. He decided to go to Dundee, Scotland to the church once served by a great former preacher named Robert McCheyne. The young minister saw an elderly sexton cleaning the church and asked if he had known McCheyne. The sexton answered in the affirmative. The minister asked if the caretaker knew the secret of McCheyne's power with God. The sexton took the young preacher to the pastor's former office that had belonged to McCheyne. The sexton told the young minister to sit down in the chair behind the desk. He then told him to put his elbows on the desk and to place his hands over his face. Then he said, “Weep - let the tears run through your fingers, for that is the way McCheyne did it.”

  • No tears, no triumph.
  • No weeping, no winning.
  • No brokenness, no blessing.

The farmer in Biblical days often worked with tears. The work was hard and the crop was often small, yet onward he went in the field. That is what we must do.

Think of the ancient farmer and what he faced in harvesting a crop, and think of this in regard to our reaping souls in our day. The farmer had to face three terrible possibilities in regard to his harvest.

A. What if Thieves Came

 The ancient farmer faced the danger of thieves coming into his field to steal the crop he had worked so hard to produce. There are spiritual enemies who are working daily to undo our witness and to hinder our work of seeking to bring people to Jesus.

B. What if Failure Came

Secondly, the farmer knew that planting the seed corn was an all or nothing proposition. If the seed corn failed, there was no seed to plant next year. Do you realize that we are always one generation from having no witness for Christ in our city, our state, our nation or our world. No wonder we are to go forth bearing our seed - our witness - with tears. With no passion we are likely to leave behind no message of Jesus for those coming behind us.

C. What if Weariness Came

Thirdly, tears can be shed when one is working endlessly in the hard soil and not getting results. Thorns and rocks can tire the farmer and cause him to quit his work. But the farmer knows that life depends on the crop, so even with tears in his eyes he goes on preparing, planting, weeding, watering and harvesting.

Like the farmer, the witness for Christ will shed some tears. The work is hard, and the souls of men and women are worse than rocky ground to a farmers.  We must go forth with our tears to share God's love and grace with the world, regardless of the hard ground in the hearts and souls of people.

  • Comforts will try to stop us.
  • Conflicts will try to stop us.
  • Confidence (or the lack of it I must say) will try to stop us.

We all fear that we are not qualified to share a witness with others. Let me share something that can help us overcome that fear. A Gallup Poll revealed that 77% of Americans say they pray almost daily. Since only 25% attend church, that means a great mass of praying people are out there who are likely open to knowing more about the Lord and His church. That same poll revealed that 72% of the Americans believe, in theory at least, that Jesus is the Son of God. Since only 35% of Americans are evangelical Christians in this country, that means about 1 in every 3 people you meet are open to knowing more about Jesus. The devil would make you think no one cares about God. Actually, of those who are un-churched, about 60% said they would join a church if they could find the right one.

 Now, note also ...

III. The Farmer and the Word SOW

The farmer must carry seed into the field. It is not enough that he merely loves the field, or that he is willing to walk through the field, or that he wears nice looking jeans when he is in the field. The farmer must take seed into field!

The Christian must take the seed into the world. What is the seed? Jesus told us the answer to that question. Look again in Luke 8:11 and note that Jesus said,

11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God."

Jesus clearly told us that the seed we are to take with us to share with those who need salvaton is the Word of God. We must share scripture with people. The Word of God is powerful, it is sharper than any two-edged sword. It can cut deep into the life of a person, even dividing bone and marrow, splitting apart the excuses he or she has and bringing them to repentance.

There is power in the seed because there is life in the seed. A tiny seed that begins to grow can literally break concrete into pieces as it rises up and expands.

Lastly, consider ...

IV. The Farmer and the Word KNOW

God promised results. The farmer knows that good seed in good soil will produce a good crop. Of course, the farmer is dependent upon the Lord to send the rain in due season. You and I are dependent upon the Lord to water the seed of the Gospel that we plant. But please know that God has promised to do just that, if only His people will go out into the field, our daily world, bearing the precious seed of His Word.

The work of spreading the Gospel may seem difficult now, but when we take the seed of the Gospel and spread it through our witness, we are told that there will be a time of rejoicing. Part of that joy is in the here and now. The churches that win souls are the churches that rejoice. But part of that rejoicing will come at the end time when we see the full extent of the work done by spreading the seed of the Gospel.

The word for rejoicing in this passage is not some flimsy word which speaks of light-heartedness. The word means to shout! The same word, for example, is used in Psalm 118:15, which reads,

"Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous:

‘The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!’”

In fact, the joy described in the use of this word is like that experienced when a baby is born into a family. Isaiah 54:1 reads,

“’Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child;

burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor;

because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,’ says the LORD."

There is no way to estimate the joy one will experience on the streets of glory when he or she meets those a person they helped bring to faith in Christ.

But don’t think of the rejoicing as merely a joy because of the MANY who are saved. Jesus pointed out clearly that there is joy in heaven over ONE who comes home to the Lord. In Luke 15 Jesus told a parable with at least three stories in it. There was a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. Whether one out of a hundred, one out of ten, or one out of two, there was rejoicing when the one that was lost was found.

If there is one person here today without the Lord, God cares for you by name - personally - as if you were the only one on earth who needs His saving grace. He loves you enough to have died just for you. God cares for each one.


A woman was sent by a missionary group to set up an office in a city where the mission organization had previously had no work. She worked for several weeks and one day her aging father decided to fly into the city to visit with her for a couple of days. They went out to eat at a restaurant. She was telling her dad about how difficult her work had been. As they talked, her father pointed out a waiter and said, “Pray for that young man, I witnessed to him a moment ago when we came in and he needs to know Christ.” The young woman was convicted. She had eaten in that restaurant several times but had not spoken to anyone there about Christ.

After the meal, they went to the woman’s apartment. She noticed that a man was washing windows at the apartment complex. She had seen him before and recognized him as a caretaker at the apartment complex. She hoped his being there would not disturb her time with her father. Before they could get inside, her father had stopped and was talking with the window washer. They bowed their heads after a few moments and the worker asked Christ into his life.

This young woman wrote a letter back to her mission organization and confessed that she had been so busy setting up the mission office, she had failed to share her personal faith with anyone. She stated that she had bowed before the Lord and made a new commitment to sow the seeds of the Gospel wherever she found herself.

Perhaps we need to do the same thing today. We need to ask God to forgive us for going about in this world andfailing to witness as we should for Jesus. Let us this very day - this very moment - make a new commitment of share the seed of the Gospel with the people around us, for if we go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, we will doubtless come again rejoicing, brining our harvest with us.

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