By far, my favorite Super Bowl Ad (and maybe yours too) was “God Made a Farmer” by Dodge. Not just because I love Paul Harvey and miss that great voice. But because it reminded me a lot of my upbringing and personal experience.
I grew up farming. I worked for my dad at the grain elevator in Bonaire and learned a lot of lessons early in life. Instead of working out for football during the summers, I tossed watermelons, picked corn, and harvested produce on my grandaddy’s farm.
So, when I saw this video, it really resonated with me. And, I began to compare what I did then to what I do now. And you’d be amazed at what I learned farming that I still use in ministry to this day. Take a couple of minutes and watch the video. It’s worth your time.
Here are a few short and simple lessons that I learned while farming but still use in ministry.
1. Recognize that life has its seasons. There’s a time to plow. A time to plant. And a time to harvest. A good farmer knows that there are seasons in life. Every season is different. That’s the way God made it. In ministry, we would do well to remember that everything has a season. And we should be “instant, in season and out of season.”
2. Remember that it’s hard work. Farming is not for the faint of heart. It demands everything. You can’t really do it halfway. But, it is very rewarding. When you see the field you plowed begin to turn green with sprouts of a new crop it puts things into perspective. Ministry is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart. It will demand your all. But the work is incredibly rewarding when you’re faithful to the task.
3. Realize that you can’t make it rain. One thing I’ve heard my dad say many times, “I can’t make it rain.” You can plow, you can plant, you can pray. But you can’t make it rain. Farming is a very dependent profession. You’re depending on God to do something that you can’t do on your own. In ministry, you can’t make it rain. Only God can. When a pastor realizes that it is a very free feeling. Don’t try to take responsibility for those things that only God can do. Instead – pray, wait, ask, seek – and watch Him work.
4. Rely on God to give the increase. One more thing. You can prepare with hard work. You can watch it rain. But only God gives the increase. A simple plant growing out of the ground is a miracle. The seed, soil, sun, water, and nutrients miraculously come together to bring about life. This is a God-thing! And remember, in ministry only God gives the increase. When the seed of the gospel is planted into the soil of a man’s heart, only God can make that seed take root. Rely on God to bring the harvest that you long to see.
Who knew that all of those days after school and long summer months were teaching me more about ministry than farming? God knew. And I’m so grateful for it.