The Mind of the Steward
A Partnership with God
Theories abound as to why Scripture contains so many agricultural references. Scholars argue that it reflects the agricultural age of the time in which it was written or that agricultural metaphors were contextual for the audience for whom it was written. Another line of thought says that faith growth most closely resembles organic growth and that the relationship between the farmer and his growing crops is a close parallel to our relationship with our growing faith.
Mark 4:26-29 reads, “(Jesus) also said, ‘The Kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. When the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come’.”
As stewards, we work with the farmer. We might plant new bits of understanding through studying the scripture, till the soil by joining a new bible study or accountability group or fertilize by attending a new worship service. Does our faith grow by our efforts? No, the results we get are a result of something we can’t see and can’t control-the power of the Holy Spirit!! And, just like the plant, our faith grows in an orderly way-sometimes quickly and sometimes more slowly, but always according to God’s plan and not ours. Then when the time comes for harvest, we’ll join God in heaven,
The relationship between the farmer and the mysterious power that grows his crops is one of partnership. If the farmer doesn’t plant the seed, till the soil, or fertilize, will the plant reach full maturity? No. If the Lord’s power doesn’t work on the seed, will the plant grow? No. The same relationship works with our faith. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t spur our growth, will we see faithful results at the highest level? No. If we don’t commit to the cultivating of our faith in prayer, study, accountability and worship, will we see growth? No.
What commitment do you have doing the things of a faith farmer? How is your partnership working out? What could you do better? Healthy plant growth doesn’t come about as a result of extended exposure to the same treatment-neither does plant growth. How do you know whether to water or re-pot a plant? How do you know whether to re-commit to Bible study or prayer as a means of growing your faith? If you tried to describe the all-by-itself characteristic of a plant’s growth, what would you say? If you tried to describe the all-by-itself characteristic of faith growth what would you say?
I invite you to ponder on these faith formation questions as you consider your stewardship to God in these times.