The Parable of the Lazy Farmer appeals to my love of recreation. Do you know the one I mean? It’s the one where the farmer scatters seed, goes to bed and sure enough the seed sprouts and grows. And it does so without the farmer having the first idea of how it happened. It’s in Mark 4. It’s about the inherent power of the word of the gospel to bring about its own growth. The point is that seeds contain within them the capacity for growth such that in the right conditions the seed will do its thing and produce a plant. And it’ll do that regardless of whatever the farmer is doing.
But the thing about this parable is that it presupposes some activity. This is a parable that helps us to sleep once we’ve done our work. It’s not a parable that gives us permission to go to sleep without doing our work. If the farmer hadn’t sowed there’d be no seed to grow!
Martin Luther, the great German Reformer of the sixteenth century wrote about the effect of the word of God when he said this,
‘We should preach the word, but the results must be left solely to God’s good pleasure … I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenburg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the word did everything’
Preach the word, go to sleep and have a beer with your mates and watch what the Lord does through His word. It sounds like a sixteenth century curriculum for a Ministry Training Scheme.
The Lord willing, the seed sown during our week of special events will bear fruit. For example, I spoke with a young man on Sunday evening brought along by a student friend of his. I think he’ll come back for our mini-series on ‘The Real Jesus’. A friend of our on Wednesday night indicated the same thing. The Lord will use His word to do His work of bringing people to faith in Christ. We simply need to sow the seed, go to bed and drink beer with our mates.
Yours in Christ