I grew up on a farm and I enjoyed it. That is at least most of the time. I didn’t mind putting up hay. But I really enjoyed the grain side of farming. I remember a cartoon in a farming magazine when I was a kid that had two farmers talking over the fence. One asked the other, “Now that you have won the lottery what are going to do?” The other simply replied “Well I guess I’ll just farm another year.” There was, however, one part of grain farming that I loathed, I hated to cultivate.
We had a John Deere model 2010 tractor that we used to cultivate with. That was a hot job. One that required your full attention and constant attention to what was ahead. Sure, you had to peak back to see that everything was working but you better not stay there, or the six rows of missing corn would reveal your error. On a tractor without shade, the heat from the exhaust underneath your feet and 100 degrees in the shade there was not a job on the farm that was so hard to keep your attention focused on and none so revealing when you didn’t. Sometimes I think we struggle in our spiritual lives when it comes to allowing God to cultivate our hearts. God desires to cultivate our hearts so that we can produce a good crop for Him. There are many reasons that we might cultivate our farms or our gardens. We cultivate to improve the soil, to weed out the unwanted and unfruitful, to promote growth, to allow access of air, moisture, and nutrients to penetrate the soil. These things help promote the deep roots to grow strong. If I am going to grow strong in Christ, I must allow God to cultivate my heart. The world often offers to cultivate our hearts, however, the rows of missing fruit brought about by a careless, inexperienced, and distracted cultivator offers far less growth than our Heavenly Father the master farmer. If I am going to grow in Christ, God needs to cultivate my heart. He needs to take out the weeds that rob my life of its strength. Weeds that thrive on the sin that surrounds me. God wants me to grow, in 2 Peter 3:18 (NIV), He tells me, 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. I am not going to get there by forbidding My Master Gardener from cultivating my heart. I need a heart made strong. I have a purpose given to me by the creator of the universe. I must produce a crop but not just any crop, a good crop. Jesus explains His parable of the Sower to His disciples in Luke 8:15 (NIV), 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. I need the hard soil of my heart to be loosened to allow air to penetrate me. God’s Spirit, “pneuma” in the Greek, is the word we get pneumatic from meaning operated by air. God’s Holy Spirit dwells in us, but we must let our hearts be softened. The Living Water of Jesus must enter our lives that we can produce a great harvest. The life-giving Word of God can then nourish our souls in this parched world. Yes, we all need to let our heart be cultivated that the Christ like qualities will transform both our hearts and our minds.