the weblog of Alan Knox

Plowing, planting, watering in the barn?

Posted by on Oct 19, 2007 in blog links, discipleship | 15 comments

Rick Meigs at “The Blind Beggar” published a post called “Modern Church Farmers“. This post is very timely for me, on several levels. Primarily, Rick’s post reinforces God’s conviction for me to step outside of this Christian bubble that I’m living in (see “Bursting the Christian bubble” and “Reaching beyond the bubble“).

Rick says the following concerning Luke 10:1-12 and modern church practices:

If the farmer worked like the current church, he would:

Plow in the barn;
Plant in the barn;
Pray that it would rain in the barn;
Harvest in the barn;
and,then burn down the barn and call it revival!

Let me contrast this with what you find in the passage.

We go into the neighborhoods. We share peace and where it is returned we dwell. In this dwelling among others, we first share hospitality (best around a meal), then we minister to needs including a focus on healing (physical, relational, physiological), then we bring the kingdom message.

As I said, this is the kind of encouragement that I need right now. I’ve learned what it means to build relationships with other followers of Jesus Christ – even those who are different from me. But, what about unbelievers?

I’m going to continue to disciple brothers and sisters in Christ, and I will continue to be discipled by brothers and sisters in Christ. But, plowing, planting, watering, and harvesting in the barn just will not cut it… it is time for me to spend less time in the barn, and more time in the fields.

By the way, did you know that you get dirty when you work in the fields?


15 Comments

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  1. 10-19-2007

    I hear you Alan. That is exactly the threshold I am attempting to cross. Here’s to getting dirty. :)

    BTW, I’d love to hear more about how you plan on doing this.

  2. 10-19-2007

    I am going to be reading about your journey and seeing how you are doing it.

    It is going to be a great journey for you and I am looking forward to see how it will play out.

    And … Yes, it is going to be dirty and messy.

  3. 10-19-2007

    Amen and amen!

    You realize, of course, that the passage talks about eating your neighbor’s food. I’m wondering how that will work out for us spreading the kingdom.

  4. 10-19-2007

    Alan,

    You have already realised that when the rubber hits the road it cannot help but get dirty.

    Our Sovereign Lord expects us to exercise wisdom in traveling that road and to take evasive action when appropriate, but He expects us to keep going, through the smaller potholes and bumps which splash mud, some of which sticks.

    Even though your journey will have much in common with the brethren who walked, and walk, the same dirt strewn road, there will be much which is unique to you. The gainsayers will criticize you for that uniqueness.

    The Lord Jesus traveled the same road and certainly had much dust, mud and, wood and blood stains, on Him. Some of the potholes are those you thought were partners and fellow travelers of the road.

    This same Lord is the most able provider of everything you and yours need, either in opportunities to do a little tent making, or surprising you with the amazing provision of such needs through true brethren whom He has strategically placed along the journey.

    Permit me one very simple, even naive, little story: In our first appointment as the teaching elder (pastor) of a Baptist Church, we were very poor. Shopping in the local supermarket, we discovered we were short of a few cents deciding to replace the pumpkin on the shelf.

    Arriving home, sitting on the step at the back door, was a beautiful pumpkin. He either provides the means or the substance.

    1 Thess. 5:23-25.

  5. 10-19-2007

    Grace,

    The only plan that I have is to spend more time with those who are not part of the family of God.

    Jeff,

    I’m interested in seeing how it will play out as well. I don’t know the answer. But, I do trust God, and know that He will see that it plays out to his glory.

    David,

    Interesting, isn’t it? Am I willing to humble myself and eat my neighbor’s food? I think so.

    Aussie John,

    Thanks for your story. I do trust God to take care of us, and to take care of the relationships that we hope are built with those outside of God’s family. He loves them more than I do.

    -Alan

  6. 10-19-2007

    Alan:

    How exciting! Can I urge you to spend time plumbing the depths of Luke 10:1-12, a passage which talks about Jesus sending into the villages and neighborhoods.

    And there are those who will pair up with you and walk the path also.

  7. 10-20-2007

    But, what about unbelievers?

    Studies have been done showing that the longer we are believers, those we spend time with are likewise believers. Very few of us work at maintaining or establishing relationships with not-yet-believers.

    In our house church trainings, one of the early assignments is to list all your not-yet believing friends, family, neighbors, etc. The newer believers don’t have any problem doing so and can fill their sheet with names. It’s us, the older believers who have been around a while that have a difficult time naming even 2-3. Our personal worlds have been “Christianized” and “sanitized”. We no longer have those relationships, and have to work to make them happen again.

  8. 10-20-2007

    Rick,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. My family has started taking the gospel to our neighborhood. But, we need to develop even closer relationships with those we’ve met. We are also looking for ways to take the gospel into other neighborhoods.

    Guy,

    You said that people who have been following Christ for a long time generally do not have friends who are non-believers and have “to work to make them happen again”. This is where we are. There is work to be done, and we’re trusting God to show us where to work and to work through us.

    -Alan

  9. 10-20-2007

    Alan-
    As both the farmer’s wife and the Elder’s wife, this post really hit close to home and barn. Very thought-provoking (and may even turn up in the Elder’s sermon some day!). Thank you!
    Kat

  10. 10-20-2007

    Alan-
    As both the farmer’s wife and the Elder’s wife, this post really hit close to home and barn. Very thought-provoking (and may even turn up in the Elder’s sermon some day!). Thank you!
    Kat

  11. 10-20-2007

    Alan-
    As both the farmer’s wife and the Elder’s wife, this post really hit close to home and barn. Very thought-provoking (and may even turn up in the Elder’s sermon some day!). Thank you!
    Kat

  12. 10-20-2007

    Alan-
    As both the farmer’s wife and the Elder’s wife, this post really hit close to home and barn. Very thought-provoking (and may even turn up in the Elder’s sermon some day!). Thank you!
    Kat

  13. 10-20-2007

    Alan-
    As both the farmer’s wife and the Elder’s wife, this post really hit close to home and barn. Very thought-provoking (and may even turn up in the Elder’s sermon some day!). Thank you!
    Kat

  14. 10-20-2007

    Alan-
    As both the farmer’s wife and the Elder’s wife, this post really hit close to home and barn. Very thought-provoking (and may even turn up in the Elder’s sermon some day!). Thank you!
    Kat

  15. 10-20-2007

    Alan-
    As both the farmer’s wife and the Elder’s wife, this post really hit close to home and barn. Very thought-provoking (and may even turn up in the Elder’s sermon some day!). Thank you!
    Kat