John Ed Mathison headshot

John Ed Mathison

Having great ideas but never acting on them is a practice in futility. I know I’m guilty of that a lot of times. Visioning and planning are great - but acting is imperative!

Isaiah pleads with the people of Israel to do what God has called them to do. In Isaiah 28:23-29, he gives great advice to us who are alive today. He says twice to “listen to me” and then he says “I am pleading with you (v.23).

He goes on to say, “Does a farmer always plow and never plant? Is he forever harrowing the soil and never planting it?” (v.24) The farm would never produce a crop if he only plowed and never planted.

Football teams go into a huddle to decide what play to run. They do that in order that everybody knows and understands the play. There’s a 25 second time limit for them to get the play, get up to the line of scrimmage, and run the play. If the team stays in the huddle and never comes up to the line of scrimmage, they will be penalized. The purpose of the huddle is to communicate to everybody – but then the play must be executed.

Many times in the church, we’re like a football team that stays in the huddle all the time. We like to pray, sing, and have committees to do great planning. I believe God’s calling upon the church to start acting on what He’s called us to be. A plowed field that’s never planted can become an eye sore!

Isaiah then reminds the people that the farmer has to plant many kinds of grain. He is encouraging when he says that the farmer knows exactly what to do because God has made him see and understand (v. 26). In life God helps us to see and understand what it is we are to do. We are not striking out blindly going off in all directions. The witness of the church today must be at the direction of what God has shown us and helped us to understand.

Next he says that all grains are not harvested the same. He says that a sledge is never used on dill, but it is beaten with a stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin, but it is beaten softly. Bread grain is easily crushed so the farmer doesn’t keep on pounding it (v. 27-29). In life, God gives a variety of gifts to a variety of people. Everybody isn’t called to do the same thing. All the different grains are not treated in the same manor.

One of the problems I encounter in the church is that we tend to want to produce “cookie cutter Christians.” The problem is that everybody has different gifts, and each person is a unique individual. The most effective churches are those that help people discover the uniqueness of their gifts, then inspire, motivate, and train them to deploy those gifts in meaningful ministry.

I’ve seen a lot of people hurt and sometimes destroyed because they didn’t “fit into the mold.” God is not confined to one mold. He’s able to do many, many different things in many, many different ways. And He’s prepared somebody to do each of those things.

Isaiah ends the passage by saying that “The Lord is a wonderful teacher and gives the farmer wisdom (v.29).” Listen today to the master teacher – how He wants you to plow, plant, and produce the harvest!

 It’s farming time!

Contributing Writer