Mumford and Sons – Thistles and Weeds
Farming is a topic that doesn’t really enter into our daily patterns of thinking in the 21st century; unless you’re watching a documentary that talks about how nutritionally deficient America is, or driving back to school through the beautiful rolling wheat fields of the Palouse. Whether you acknowledge it or not, farming plays an intricate part in all of our lives. In actuality, our country was founded on agriculture, and it wasn’t until after WWII that large farms and conglomerates were responsible for our food production. Farming, surprisingly, is very interesting and the people that bear the title of farmer are even more interesting. Many parables told by Jesus actually pertained to this topic, and there is one in particular that I would like to bring to your attention. So sit back and enjoy some Mumford while I have you ponder this quote, “unhitch that plow off your back.”
Jesus said in Matthew 9,
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
As a matter of fact, he said it twice. Here’s what Luke recorded in Chapter 10 of his biblical contribution,
2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
Most of the time, the Bible says something once and moves on to other statements to strengthen the point. However, there are times when the Bible will repeat itself; one example is Jesus starting a statement with the disclaimer “Truly, Truly I say to you”. This might seem excessive, but I promise you that Jesus had nothing resembling a stutter. In Hebrew culture, repeating something twice witnessed to its importance, and futhermore, repeating it thrice witnessed to the statements(or Gods’) perfection. The fact that this verse is repeated in separate Gospels therefore witnesses to me its importance. But why is it so important?
Land is commonly measured by the unit of acres; but how big is an acre and who decided its size? Well let me tell you! An acre was originally the amount of land that one man could tend to in a days’ time. Now I want to apply that definition to a topic at hand, our lives. Many times we feel weighed down by all the things we have to do in our days. Whether its school, or a job, or community service, or a relationship, or whatever you find yourself doing today, that is your acre. All the while the laziness within is appealing to us, “You work so hard in the field everyday, just unhitch that plow off your back. It would make your days a lot easier.” Granted, many of us don’t “entirely” listen to this voice, but we do allow it to affect our actions at some level. I’m not saying that all of us are throwing in the proverbial towel because the truth is that many of us realize that quitting is not an option; but we do get awfully comfortable watching our favorite sitcom on Netflix each night as our relationship with God gets shoved to the side. As we do this, the voice in turn encourages our self pity and entitlement and, without noticing it, we start agreeing with it. “Yah! That’s right, I have been working hard! I just spent all day getting my school work done and now I NEED me time. Maybe my friends want to get drunk tonight.”
Let’s go back to what Jesus said now. He said that the harvest is plentiful! Those are positive terms that he’s talking in folks. The harvest IS something that is to be desired. And then with all the insight that you would expect from the Son of Man, he accurately states that “the laborers are few.” God just called every lazy servant out, including you. And he’s actually being nice! Read the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) to see how laziness is rewarded in reality. But that’s not my point. My point is that you should rejoice! There is a harvest, and its plentiful, and we are being called to put our plows back on every morning when we wake up! Lastly I want to leave you with a verse of encouragement. This one comes from Matthew 11:
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
A word to the wise, “get used to your plow and harvest all you can until the master gives you a bigger one.”