Saturday, December 08, 2007

My Father The Farmer

I have just returned from three days teaching the Satisfying Life course and the Six Metaphors of a Happy Marriage series in a nearby state. A small seminary and camp ministry hosted the conference. The group was small but the openness was huge.

As I was teaching at the camp, the farming community that surrounded the camp allowed me to see something entirely new about John 15. It is hard to put into words how this new insight blessed me, but here goes.

Think for a moment about the massive, eternal and revolutionary importance of Christ's teaching and life. Nothing ever has happened that even comes close to God with us in human form. Imagine the last day of Jesus' life. He washes feet, comforts his disciples and prepares them for His coming death and their future of oneness with Him and His Father. Was there ever a more important day to describe everything exactly right?

As Jesus begins John 15 He begins with these words... " I am the true Vine and My Father is the Vinedresser..." There it is.
Everything that has happened through Jesus' perfect life has qualified Jesus to tell us that His Father is a farmer. A farmer. Not a judge. Not a ruler. Not a conquerer. A farmer.
My Father is a farmer, says Jesus, and Jesus is excited about it!

When I saw this, I caught my breath. Have I really understood that God did all He did in Jesus so He could successfully farm here in the world?

Farmers believe they can produce a certain kind of fruit or crop. If they don't believe a crop will come in, they don't plant. Farmers have taken into consideration everything in the environment and they plant believing the harvest can come no matter the circumstances that come. They don't change the environment, they know they can overcome it and harvest.

I mentioned to the students at the seminary that no one plants until someone proves it is worth it. The first to plant a new crop is always accused of being wrong. Jesus was God's proof that sustained human love could grow in this world again. A second Adam had been found. Now with Jesus in us the fruit can appear worldwide. So now God plants us everywhere and we bear Jesus' fruit.

I wonder how different the history of Christianity would have been if the church had always related to the world not as conquerers or judges but as branches of the Farmer? Who do farmers threaten? Who do Vine and branches threaten?

God is farming in this world. Let that thought sink in. Human love can grow right here if Jesus abide in us and we abide in Him. Amazing.

Take a few minutes and think about your concept of God in this world. If you see Him as judge and ruler you must surely be disappointed with what He is not doing. If you think of Him as love's Farmer, keep your eyes open and you will His fruit appearing all over the place.

I am sure the first disciples thought it strange that Jesus would be excited about having a farmer for a Father. Still, when you think about it what more important thing is there to do than sustain and feed the souls of men and women who hunger for love?

2nd photo: Seminary group
3rd photo: Recently planted Vine at the new Abide Center. Click on photos to enlarge.

No comments: