By Leonard Lauriault
Planting time will soon be upon us. I know; lots of things should’ve been planted in February or March, like peas or spring oats. Other things, like wheat and alfalfa, shouldn’t be planted until mid-August in Quay County (and only then if we have a full lake for alfalfa). Alfalfa should be planted before mid-September here to give it time to become well established before winter. Every day of delayed planting after that time can compromise the life of each seedling especially if an early hard freeze occurs. [Every day that goes by now also brings us one day closer to a full lake. Remember, whenever the lake was dry in the past, a majority of the time it was refilled by a single rain in May – pray for rain, seeking forgiveness first (James 5: 13-16).]
Anyway, the planting time that’ll soon be upon us is for things that cannot stand frost, like cotton, black-eyed peas (I love those), and sorghum for grain or forage. Some people will plant whenever they decide to plant, whether or not it’s the best time (it’s never a good time to sow wild oats).
Sowing the seed of the good news about Jesus is something we can do any time. In fact, Christians are to always be ready to tell others the reason for the hope and love we have when they ask about those because they’ve seen us living our faith (1 Peter 3: 15, 16; John 13: 34, 35; Galatians 5: 2-25; 1 Corinthians 13: 13). The special hope Christians have should be readily evident through love and some level of self-control, no matter the circumstances. To bear this fruit, though, we must have a well-planted, established faith. Our preacher said recently that an established faith is like a well-established plant – grounded in the truth, deeply rooted (Psalm 1: 1-6).
Seeding time and technique often determines establishment. Planting depth is dependent on seed size. If the seed is planted too deep, the seedling won’t survive because seeds only have so much energy to make it through the darkness below ground and reach the energy of sunlight. Planting too shallow may put the seed into soil that dries too fast keeping the seedling from properly developing much of a root system. A strong root system helps the plant be well anchored to survive the forces of wind and to glean water and nutrients from the soil. As Christians, all we need to do is plant and water the seeds of faith; God will do the rest to provide the harvest (1 Corinthians 3: 5-9; Mark 4: 26-29).
While anytime is good for sowing seeds to grow our faith, we need to give those seeds time to germinate and become established before we give up or take on more faith-challenging forms of Christian service (Matthew 13: 20-22). Otherwise, our root system won’t have had time to develop. Even with “hilled-up” crops like potatoes, we don’t pile on more soil until the plant is tall enough to have leaves above the soil after it’s piled on. Once plants are tall enough to still receive energy from the sun (Son) and have a root system that’s well grounded below the “hilled-up” soil, they can expand into the new soil developing an even stronger root system (“hilling-up” also makes digging the potatoes much easier).
Most farms and ranches have areas in which the crops (including grass) grow better. Every person has some good soil somewhere in their heart in which the seed can took root if we’ll only let it (Matthew 13: 23; Mark 4: 20; Luke 8: 15). Athenagoras (Greek philosopher turned Christian in the second century AD), comparing the emergence of seed from below the soil to the resurrection of the dead, stated that everything comes forth to the light. Whether or not we let the seed of the word germinate and grow from the good soil in our heart, we’ll all come forth from the grave to the light to stand before God in judgment (John 3: 19-21; 5: 28, 29; 2 Corinthians 5: 10). By coming to Jesus and producing good fruit in this life, we’ll be able to continue standing before God like a tree planted by streams of living water (John 7: 37-39; Psalm 46: 4; 36: 8; Revelation 22: 1, 2, 17). Otherwise, we won’t stand at all because we’ll be uprooted (Matthew 15: 13).
Jesus’ return also will soon be upon us. While we don’t know when, it’s nearer now than it has ever been (Romans 13: 11, 12). While we look forward to his return, we’re to settle down and be busy sowing seeds of our faith (2 Timothy 4: 7, 8; Jeremiah 29: 4-11).
By Leonard Lauriault, church of Christ