Sunday, October 10th, 2010
"In the morning sow your seed and until the evening do not let your hand rest; for you are not knowing where this will have success" (Ecclesiastes 11:6)
A farmer needs to be patient. (James 5:7) After sowing the seed, he needs to wait for it to sprout and grow. Gradually, when conditions are favorable, shoots begin to appear, breaking through the surface of the ground. Then they develop into plants that sprout heads of grain. Eventually, the farmer has a field ready to be harvested. How amazing it is to witness the miracle of growth! How humbling, too, to realize who is the Source of this growth. We can nurture the seed. We can assist with the watering process. But only God can make it grow. (Compare 1 Corinthians 3:6) Jesus likened the Kingdom-preaching work to a farmer's sowing of seed. In the illustration found at Mark 4:3-9, Jesus emphasized that even though the farmer sows good seed, the heart condition of an individual determines whether the seed grows to maturity or not.
(Watchtower issue: 7/15/08, 4:1, 2)
A very encouraging "real-life" example of this scenario happened to a sister in my congregation recently. She's been married to an unbelieving husband for over 30 years now, who at the beginning of their marriage was extremely opposed and did everything possible to prevent her from attending congregation meetings. He even threatened to take his shotgun to the Kingdom Hall and start shooting people if she didn't stop going to meetings. Well after about 10 years his attitude softened, and although he stopped opposing her from being a Witness, he had no interest in learning about the Bible himself.
Well just a few years ago he began coming to the Memorial, and would occasionally attend parts of the District Convention. Then, he started to attend the Sunday meeting whenever he could. Well about 2 or 3 months ago, he surprised everyone and said he was ready to start studying the Bible!
Which just goes to show why we need to be patient and remember that we have no control over the spiritual growth of someone else.
But at the same time, we can help the process along by doing a good job as "spiritual farmers" and "cultivators." Because I noticed that this sister's husband didn't seem to feel comfortable studying the Bible with just a random brother in the congregation, but said he wanted to study with the elder who had previously been taking an interest in him, and trying to reach out and get to know him. So developing a personal rapport with a potential Bible student can be an important part of aiding the spiritual growth process, since plants don't sprout or blossom when it's dark, rainy, and cold in the winter, but they wait for more favorable conditions, when it's warm and sunny in the spring.