In the 21st century, only a small percentage of our citizens are employed in agriculture or farm-related businesses. Most of us don’t see farming happening from day to day, and we need to travel a bit to get the flavor (and the smell) of these things firsthand.
There is a seasonal rhythm for growing food that farmers ignore at their peril. They must also do things in the right order. There is a window of opportunity for plowing, planting, weeding and watering, and finally comes the harvest (hurry before the frost gets it). The prophet Hosea lived in an agrarian society and used images he knew well to teach believers about life: “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12).
Even city people can live like farmers. Hosea’s encouragement is that we do the right things, even when they’re hard and even when there seems to be no reward, in confident anticipation that the harvest will come later. Repenting of our sins, telling the truth, helping other people, and keeping our promises sometimes have a delayed payoff. In an age of instant gratification, we need to teach our children and grandchildren to be patient, to sacrifice now, to learn discipline, and to look forward to the Lord’s showers of blessings later.
There will be a harvest if we do the plowing and planting first.