My father had the heart of a farmer.
Thankfully, God made him with a strong work ethic because, believe me, farming takes a lot of work. From early morning to late nights there was always something that needed to be done to maintain the farm, especially a farm with animals.
His day would start with the first round of milking the cows, usually by 5 a.m. However, milking the cows was only the culmination of a series of other jobs to get the cows ready. Herding the cows from the pasture, getting them in the stanchions, leg braces in place to keep from getting kicked, etc.; were only a few of the tasks necessary every day. After milking would come any number of the other chores that were required to keep the farm running; planting, tractor repair, managing crop yields, another round of milking, and trying to train his kids to help. His day would usually end later than I was awake to notice only to start the process over again the next morning.
One part that I noticed was especially important to my farming father was the importance of keeping things clean.
If you have never been on a farm you may not understand that this is one of the hardest jobs on the list. Animals are messy, weeds grow quickly, rocks rise up year after year; all have to be cleaned out again and again. If they are not, it can cause disease and death, damage to production and even the loss of thousands of dollars in repair costs; all of which a farmer cannot afford if he wants to stay afloat. Because of this my father took this job very seriously.
Somehow he had really grasped the concept that a clean farm is a productive farm.
I remember him carefully cleaning out the gross, smelly manure from the barn and putting fresh hay down for the cows knowing that they would just mess it up again. He would guide and organize us kids to walk the fields to pull weeds and pick up rocks also knowing it would just have to happen again next year. I wonder how discouraging this must have been and how often I didn’t help by fussing about my “chores”. But because my father had the heart of a farmer, he kept at it until he passed it on to his son, who continues to do the work of a faithful farmer.
God, my Heavenly Father also has the heart of a farmer.
Jesus, himself showed us this through the parables described in Matthew 13:3
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. Matthew 13:3
He is a God who desires us to have productive lives, rich lasting crops of spiritual fruit and is always working towards that end for us. He plants, repairs, manages our potential yield and yes, even trains us, His kids, to help. Each day He starts the process over again and again in the lives of countless people.
He also highly values the importance of cleanliness.
God, the Father understands that this life got very messy after Adam and Eve sinned. It broke His heart to see how sin messed up His “farm”. The fact is, sin makes everything dirty and in need of cleaning up. Like the manure that piles up in the barn, or the weeds and rocks left in the field, undealt with sin will cause more than just a terrible odor or ugly fields; it will bring disease and death, damage to production and the loss of the very gifts He has given us.
Thankfully, as a perfect farmer, God had a solution to deal with this sin and its destructive qualities.
First of all, God knew that sin would need to be dealt with and like my father, got His Son involved. By dying on the cross and then rising from the tomb, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave us all we need to be clean. Accepting this gift of salvation is the only tool that gives us the ability to remove the curse of sin in our lives.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
However, as long as we live in this sin damaged world we will need to know how to stay clean.
Unfortunately, the manure, weeds and rocks of this life will come back over and over until God’s Kingdom is finally set up when Jesus returns. God created the concept that a clean person is a productive person but that this world now makes it hard to stay that way. Thankfully, just like my earthly father taught his children how to maintain and clean his farm, our Heavenly Father has given us ways to maintain and keep our lives clean.
First we will always have to keep the manure of unforgiveness scooped out of our lives and replaced with the straw of mercy.
Just like cows make a continual mess, people will always be messing up our lives. These messes can really stink if you know what I mean. Forgiveness keeps our lives clean, like the word of God says “cleanses us from wickedness”. If unforgiveness remains, just like piled up manure, disease and death are given the chance they need to thrive, not to mention the number of flies (a.k.a. demons) that start accumulating.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9
God the Father, who has the heart of a farmer, strongly desires to help us rid ourselves of these destructive forces.
He desired it so much that, leading by example, He forgave us while we were deep in our own pile of filth. He showed us what the covering of mercy looks like and every day is willing to muck out our new mess and cover it again. He asks us to do the same for others so He can continue to do it for us.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
Every day I am learning to notice any bad smell in my life and remove the manure of unforgiveness and then break open a new bale of mercy for those around me.
Secondly, we must walk the fields of our lives and root out any weed-like lies, planted by the enemy, that we have believed.
These lies will, like weeds, greatly hinder the yield of fruit our lives are meant to produce. God, our Heavenly Farmer has planted truth into our lives for the purpose of abundant life. Satan, our adversary, plants lies in order to steal, kill and destroy. Though the truth is obviously what we want, for some reason, the lies can look very appealing, like the flower of a dandelion to a child, and we don’t always see the damage done until it’s too late.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
My father understood the destructive qualities of the weeds that were in his bean field and knew that we must go and pull those weeds out by the root so that his crops could thrive. It was hot, miserable, tiring work but the benefits of an increased yield were felt and appreciated when the harvest came in.
God, the Father, with His heart of a farmer, also understands the importance of recognizing and pulling out the enemy’s lies in our lives.
Just a couple examples are the following: God sews the truth that I am chosen and His workmanship while the enemy plants the lie that I am inadequate and worthless; God sews the truth that I am free from condemnation and cannot be separated from His love, the enemy plants the lie that I am guilty and abandoned.
Regularly, I will walk the field of my life, with the truth of the Word of God, and root out the lies of the enemy so that God’s truth will bring the abundant yield He desires.
Lastly, we must keep removing the rocks of judgment that bring so much damage to our relationship with God and those He brings into our lives.
There is a very clear image of the rocks of judgement in the biblical story in John 8 of the prostitute who was to be stoned. Jesus showed the heart of His father when He, Himself would not condemn her and offered her the forgiveness she needed. He desired that a relationship be restored between God and this woman and offered her the grace and mercy of His Heavenly Father instead of judgement.
God’s heart, yes that beautiful heart of a farmer, is calling us to clean out the rocky judgements we so easily find and want to throw at others, so that nothing comes between us and our relationship with Him and the ones He wants us to share His grace and mercy with.
God wants us to realize that the only route to a great harvest of souls is for His kids to get out into the fields and remove the judgements that can damage His message from being spread. Instead love others deeply, like the heart of the Father loves us. We must also remember that judgements, just like rocks, surface time after time and we must have a continual practice of ridding them from our lives.
I will scan the fields of my life to see if there are any judgements that must be removed to protect the relationships God has sent to me for His harvest.
God, my Heavenly Father, has the heart of a Farmer and He is calling me and the rest of His kids to clean up our farm.
Will you join me?
*As I have been learning more about the beautiful heart of my Heavenly Father, often revealed through the heart of my earthly one, I have felt the call to develop a ministry known as My Father’s Heart Prayer Ministries. It will be a place to connect hurting people with the heart of our loving triune God. A place where this cleaning and connection happen so people are free to be who God made them to be. It will include SOZO** prayer counseling, prophetic encouragement, biblical dream interpretation and corporate prayer and worship events. I would appreciate your prayers for this ministry.
**SOZO is the Greek word in the Bible often translated saved, healed, and delivered. For more info click here.
***Here is a great song to encourage you today. Clean by Natalie Grant