garden! Why don’t diets work? You can watch what you eat for one day, but for a month? Why is it so hard to learn another language? You can learn a few Spanish words one day, but every day? We want it now! Overnight! But God doesn’t ever promise instant gratification. He promises great blessings long term through daily use of his Word. Are we patient farmers?
When I prepare for my sermons, I try to read commentaries from other pastors. As I studied this text, I read a commentary written in the 1930s. Do you know what the pastor said was a problem in the 1930s? People were tempted to think that God’s Word wasn’t enough. They felt they had to help it along. People wanted less time in the Bible and more “picnics and entertainments,” he said. Sound familiar? How often don’t we think we need to help God’s Word along? Improve it a bit. Modernize it. Make it more fun and entertain-ing. Then things would work! Except, if you want strawberries, what do you need to plant? Strawberries. If you want hearts faithful to Jesus, what do you need to plant? Jesus’ Word! Jesus once said, “If people do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
Do you get Jesus’ point? Trust in Jesus only comes from Jesus’ Word. He says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, … so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11). That’s the point of Jesus’ parables. God’s Word is always work-ing, and it’s going to produce to produce something big! In fact, it already has. After Jesus ascended into heaven, there were 120 Christians in the entire world. How many are there now? Billions! So trust Jesus and his Word.
That includes dads. Fathers are farmers too! I once heard a sermon in which the pastor asked, “What’s best for kids today?” Wouldn’t it be nice for them to have someone who sees them every day? Someone with a powerful influence in their lives who knows them personally? Someone who cares enough to lovingly correct and train and encourage them? Someone who can plant in their hearts every day the seed of God’s Word? Who was he talking about? Dad! We need dads. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how old they are. Fathers are farmers. You can’t control the results, but you can plant. You can plant God’s Word daily, and the Word has power!
So what would you tell that man, lying on his back in the hospital, worried about his daughter falling away from Jesus? First, point him to Jesus. He has a Savior who has for-given every sin he has committed as a father and grandfather. No one can ever separate him from Jesus’ love. Point him to Jesus! Then remind that man that God’s Word works, even when we’re sleeping, even when we’re lying on a hospital bed. God isn’t yet done working with any person who has heard his Word. God’s Word works! Then encourage him to trust that no matter what he sees on the outside, God’s kingdom is growing and ex-panding in ways we won’t understand until we get to heaven. Finally, tell him to keep on planting. To plant God’s Word in the hearts of those you love over and over and over again. Because Christians—and Christian fathers—are farmers!