FARMA

Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. [Galatians 6:7-9 (MSG)]

July corn IllinoisAlthough karma is not a Christian concept, the karmic concept of actions yielding consequences and of “what goes around comes around” is present throughout the Bible. Because many of the Bible’s metaphors about cause and effect have to do with agriculture and farming, a pastor friend likes to call this concept “farma.”

Summers we live in Midwest farm country and I’ve seen the nearby fields turn green as the field corn and soybeans emerge from the soil. Depending on lots of variables—sunshine, temperature and weather—it takes about five to ten days for the first soybean sprout and two weeks for the corn shoot to appear. The old phrase is “knee high by the 4th of July” and, while there is no sign of the corn yet, the stalks in most fields are well past that point. The soybean fields look good, too, and their tiny purple flowers are starting to emerge.

The farmer’s work, however, isn’t done; he has to fertilize, manage the weeds, keep a vigilant eye for pests, and possibly irrigate the crop. If, for some reason, he loses patience and abandons the fields, there will be no harvest in September or October. Farmers just don’t plant one day and expect to harvest the next and spiritual farming is even less predictable than growing corn or beans. If we give up planting good seeds just because we don’t see immediate results, we’ll miss the many blessings that could come our way. An apology for betrayal, no matter how heartfelt, is not likely to yield immediate forgiveness and reconciliation nor is becoming more considerate of one’s spouse likely to save a troubled marriage in one day. It takes considerable plowing and sowing to soften a hardened heart. Rather than abandoning hope and quitting, we need to keep on planting seeds of love and patiently wait for the results.

Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. [James 5:7-8 (MSG)]

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