Fighting or Farming?

I can imagine how difficult it was to get it right for the people who first followed Jesus. Think about how difficult it is to change your expectations when you have a long-held belief that things will be a certain way. How many times do you have to be told or to be shown that things are going to be a little different? Peter, James, John, the whole of first-century Jews had been raised on stories, prophecies, expectations. The messiah would come. He would make Israel great. He would defeat Israel’s enemies. He would establish a kingdom and reign. And Jesus came. He was talking about the kingdom being back. He was performing acts of great power. Galilee, his home region was buzzing with excitement. There are stories about crowds being ready to make him king by force, and there is strong evidence that those closest to him were feeding that expectation. How exciting it was. The evil routed. The godly enthroned.

But they were wrong. Oh, they were partly right. Jesus was the messiah-king. The powerful acts meant something. And Jesus was out to destroy enemies. But his way of doing so was not in the way they expected. And the enemy he was fighting was not the ones they wanted to fight. In short, what he wanted them to do, and what he was doing, was not fighting at all. He wanted them to plant seeds. Instead of fighting, he wanted them to farm. The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed seeds in the ground and they took root and they grew and they bore fruit.

I wonder if our expectations are not too different from the first disciples. We want to fight instead of farm. The reality is we are called to plant seeds, gospel seeds, good news seeds, for Jesus. How? And what? The gospels themselves and what Jesus did give us the answer. He touched people. He healed people. He blessed people. He told them God was near to them and they were forgiven. And he sent people to go do the same. Teach. Preach. Help. Heal. Bring in the scattered. We are putting together some pieces now for us to do exactly that.

As you’re reading this a number of people have scattered around Jesup to lift up their eyes and look on the fields. They’re asking what needs, big or small, exist around us in neighborhoods, schools, hospital, wherever. They will come back together and we’ll compile a list. When we have that list, something important will happen. We’ll ask you, but not you alone, no, we’ll ask your Bible study group, or small group, or whoever, to pick one need and to together figure out how to meet it in Jesus’s name. We’re asking you, I’m asking you, to plant seeds. Maybe that means you begin a ministry in a nursing home or adopt a class in a school or begin a post-Covid support group or literally, only God knows what. But how? You’ll figure it out. Know how? You are smart. And you have Jesus in you. And you have the Holy Spirit, too, and you know how to pray.

Help us plant seeds, and start seeing them grow for Jesus.