June 2018
From Pastor to Pasture

If You Don’t Plant It – It Won’t Grow

As I write this, several things are going on concurrently spurring my thoughts for this article. First of all, farmers in the Southeast are as busy as bees working in the fields – preparing the land or planting. There has been a lot of seed put in the ground the last few weeks and there will be many tons more sown in the next few weeks. Praise God for the timely rains and the spring-type weather this year in southeast Alabama. As good as the planting season has been, there has to be great anticipation and hope of a great harvest!

Second, we finished our second round in a six-week period of incubating a clutch of 42 eggs from our own flock. In the first round, 17 eggs (41 percent) were fertile, 15 chicks hatched (36 percent). This last batch only had 10 fertilized eggs (24 percent), only 7 live chicks (17 percent). This is a drastic decrease in fertilization from previous years where we averaged 39 (93 percent) and 36 (86 percent) hatching. For some reason, the roosters are not getting the job done.

The third event is going on as I write. In western Oklahoma, ranchers are dealing with the second bout of vicious wildfires in 12 months. These wildfires are moving 30-70 mph across the prairies. So far, hundreds of thousands of acres, dozens of homes, countless miles of fence, vast numbers of cattle and at least two ranchers’ lives have been lost to these massive wildfires – and they are only 3 percent contained. A state of emergency has been declared for 52 of their 77 counties!

It was just this past August (10 months ago) that Cattle for Christ donated and delivered nine herd bulls to Oklahoma and Kansas ranchers who lost most of their cattle in the 2017 wildfires. We believe that providing them with top-quality herd bulls was the most strategic and effective way we could help them to rebuild their herds with good and productive genetics to help boost their income by positively affecting the progeny of their herd.

I will always remember the profound statement our Cattle for Christ Texas Representative Greg Cowan made during an interview with a film crew from the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, who was covering the relief efforts.

"What we are doing here is not about Cattle for Christ," he stated. "We are here planting seeds of the Gospel; planting seeds of God’s love and hope in the hearts of these ranchers who have lost everything. Just as these bulls we brought will plant seed in these cows to produce a crop of good calves, we are planting seeds of love and hope in anticipation of a harvest in the hearts of these ranchers for the Kingdom of God."

Wow!

All three events have at least one thing in common: the planting of seed! Without planting seed, there can be no harvest! This is true, as far as I know (and I am not a botanist or biologist), for all livestock, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, cotton, grains, grasses and other crops grown on a large scale. At some point, they have to produce seeds to propagate themselves – whether by sexual or asexual means and by some means those seeds have to be sown.

Not only is this principle true for crops, animals and mankind, it is also true for good and evil! Another truth is that all of us are seed sowers – whether we know it or not. The Bible says we should not be deceived. "… God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." (Galatians 6:7-8, NIV).

Farmers and ranchers can relate to and validate the universal phrase, "you reap what you sow." According to "The Jeremiah Study Bible," the phrase has four underlying principles:

  • Investment – you reap IF you sow, but sowing costs something.

  • Identity – you reap what you sow.

  • Increase – you reap more than you sow.

  • Interval – you reap later than you sow.

No matter if it is row crop farmers, livestock or poultry producers, gardeners or tree farmers, I have never met a successful farmer who sat around and did not go to the trouble and expense to prepare the land, and to sow what he wanted to harvest. I have never met a successful farmer who did not work diligently to ensure he did all he could do, when it needed to be done, to make the crop as productive and profitable as he could make it. I have never met a successful farmer who did not do everything he could to harvest the crops as soon as they were ripe.

Every farmer and rancher knows there is great risk and investment in sowing and doing everything needed to produce and harvest the crop. A good row cropper knows that seeds are very expensive and never cuts costs by sowing low-quality seeds or ones untested for germination and purity. A good rancher knows the herd sire is the most important and valuable investment in the herd because the bull will influence every calf that hits the ground. A good rancher conducts a breeding soundness evaluation before every breeding season to ensure the bull is capable of reproducing.

There can be no harvest without the investment of a lot of labor, time and finances to acquire and sow the seed – and even then you are not guaranteed a harvest. Droughts, floods, cold weather, market fluctuations … you name it and it can and has happened before, during and after planting and before, during and after the harvest!

However, as farmers and ranchers, we do not give up or quit just because it is hard, risky and comes with uncertainty and dependence on many things we cannot control. We show up – regardless of the weather, the time of day or night, our own personal comfort or discomfort – and we work until it is done!

After all, a significant responsibility for the physical health and survival of the entire world rests on our shoulders.

So let us get back to the spiritual aspect of seed sowing, cultivating crops and reaping the harvest. If we do not invest whatever is needed to sow the spiritual seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world, don’t nurture those who receive the seed and help them to grow spiritually, there will be no harvest – we will have produced no fruit with our lives.

We cannot sow the seeds of the Gospel if the Gospel seed in our own lives has not taken root, produced fruit and made seed for us to sow.

If you are reading this, you need to know God is a holy, loving and just God. Sins (evils) we have committed, and we all have, separate us from the right relationships with Him. The wages of sin is physical and spiritual death, and separation from God. But because of God’s great love for us, He sent His only Son Jesus to come to us as God in the flesh to show us how to live, to show us God and, most importantly, to pay the price for our sin by giving His life as a ransom for ours. Through His death, He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself so we could be reconciled with God the Father.

After His death, He rose from the dead, conquering death – the ultimate penalty of sin – so we, too, can have eternal life. When our physical bodies die, we will live for eternity in a new body that will be unperishable and incorruptible.

He promises that when we by faith put our trust in Him and accept His free gift of eternal salvation, our sins are forgiven and we are born again into the Kingdom of God. He then commands us to turn away from our sin, allow Him to be the Lord of our lives, and to go and sow the seed of the Gospel by sharing this truth of His love with others. He commands us to sow that seed, knowing that not all the seeds will take root and produce fruit … but we are to sow anyway.

Luke 8:11-15 explains the parable of the sower and the soils this way: "… The seed is the Word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the Word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the Word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop."

Has the seed taken root in your heart? Are you cultivating it? Are you producing spiritual fruit? Are you sowing the seed? The fruit of a Christian’s labor is seen in the lives of others. Their eternal destiny is at stake!

 

 

Glenn Crumpler is is president of Cattle for Christ International, Inc. He can be contacted at 334-393-4700 (home), 333-4400 (mobile) or www.CattleforChrist.com.