Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.” (NLT)
How comforting is to realise that God gets on with his work without our having to be practically involved all the time. We are so often reminded that God has no other hands but our own and he needs us to advance his rule. True enough, but only to a degree.
This short parable reminds us that we do have a role to play. The farmer has to plant the seed; we have to do our bit. Otherwise nothing happens. However, the seed sprouts and grows without the farmer doing anything. We can ‘plant a seed’ in the life of someone—showing them something of the grace and truth of Jesus. But we can’t ultimately change their hearts.
We may see the results, or in the terms of this story, reap the harvest. But it is God’s Spirit that is at work. Only he can change a heart and a life and a destiny. We are not ultimately responsible for someone embracing or rejecting Jesus. We have a part to play but we must not overplay our part.
We cannot be active 24/7. We cannot work miracles. We cannot grasp just how God is doing his work in his world. We can only plant seeds and wait for the results. In the work of God, we are important, but not all important.