Sowing the Seed

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. Mark 4:3 (NIV)

We are looking at farming as a model for revival. We began last time by focusing on the first step, “Preparing the Ground.” To receive a harvest (revival) there are steps to be taken.

When I was a boy, my aunt and uncle lived on a large property. I am not certain you could call it a farm, but they did have a field and a tractor. My brothers and I loved to drive the tractor. With the tiller attachment in place, we would go back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes the rows were straight, but often our uncle would end up redoing what we had done, in part because of our inexperience, but sometimes because we were behaving foolishly. Eventually, you must stop plowing and plant the seed.

Listen to me now. Give me your closest attention. Do farmers plow and plow and do nothing but plow? Or harrow and harrow and do nothing but harrow? After they’ve prepared the ground, don’t they plant? Isaiah 28:23–25 (The Message)

Spiritually, repentance and confession are what prepare our hearts to receive the seed of the word. Revival will fail and never come if we keep going over the same ground again and again. The enemy will try to remind us of our past, telling us that we are not good enough. There will never be a harvest if the seeds are never planted.

Sowing is an Act of Faith

When Jesus told the parable of the sower, he depicts the farmer scattering the seed generously. He does not seem surprised or concerned, that some of the seed lands in unintended places. Often the Bible speaks of sowing freely. Our initial impulse may be to view sowing as it pertains to our money and resources, but the application goes much farther.

When a farmer sows seed into a field, he is parting with something that has been either purchased or set aside from a previous harvest. When someone sows into us or we sow into others, there is a cost. But not only is there a cost, but there is also an element of uncertainty. Was the ground prepared properly? Are the seeds good? Will the rain come?

The seed is precious, and it could be used for other purposes. We might desire to consume the seed for ourselves or save it for another time, but we are sowing it because we want to see a harvest.

Sowing is Dying

Those who shed tears as they plant will shout for joy when they reap the harvest. Psalm 126:5 (NET)

Before the seed is placed in the ground, it has life. But as long as the seed has life, it cannot reproduce. Jesus said it this way: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives” John 12:24 (NLT). Paul, answering those who doubted the resurrection, echoed this point: “…What you sow does not come to life unless it dies” 1 Corinthians 15:36 (NIV).

It is hard to let go. Jesus’ disciples could not understand why he had to die, but that was because they did not understand the principle of reproduction. We will have the temptation to hold onto things, especially our lives, until we believe that new life will only come forth through death. It is okay to shed tears, but if we stay the course, we will see the harvest.

Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried. But, you’ve actually been planted. — Christine Caine

Sow Many Seeds to Get a Large Harvest

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 2 Corinthians 9:6 (NLT)

Some will argue that this Scripture applies to our finances, but the application is universal. Whatever and how much we plant is what we will get in return. This is a primary principle. “…You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” Galatians 6:7–8 (NLT).

There are many kinds of seeds that will yield many kinds of crops. If we desire a harvest of souls, we must plant the Word of God. “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” 1 Peter 1:23 (NIV). (James 1:18, 1 John 3:9)

Seeds that are not planted cannot produce a crop. No matter how vital and full of life they are, until they are sown, they cannot achieve their purpose. And yet, sowing seed alone is not enough. First, there is the hard work of preparing the ground. Obstacles must be removed and hardness, or should we say hardened hearts, must be softened. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, but he uses those who are filled with compassion as co-laborers.

Let us get ready because the rain is coming. We may have different responsibilities, but we must never forget how it works: “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” 1 Corinthians 3:7 (NIV).

Finally, let us get busy: Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NLT)

Steve Ekeroth


Photo by Binyamin Mellish from Pexels




  1. Debbie Strack on April 14, 2021 at 5:58 am

    This is so understandable. Thank you for your writing. My father wasn’t a religious man or ever spoke about God. He planted beautiful gardens that produced wonderful vegetables and fruits. He worked long hours out in the sun. His gardens had no weeds in them. When he was done he would set up a lawn chair and just look at the garden. One time I asked him what he was doing and he said he was watching the garden grow.🤗
    He had faith that all his work would be rewarded. I believe now he was attuned to God even though I never saw it. We must never give up hope of what God has given us to plant. We must continue the work and watch for God’s harvest🌸

  2. J Kamberidis on April 15, 2021 at 3:56 am

    Lord, help us to plant many seeds and see a great harvest.

  3. […] been examining farming as an illustration of revival. We began with “Preparing the Ground” and “Sowing the Seed,” and now we are ready for the water to saturate the soil and bring forth […]

  4. A Great Harvest - E4 Ministry Network-AGIF on April 29, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    […] us how people come into the kingdom. It begins with “Preparing the Ground” in anticipation of “Sowing the Seed.” For life to come forth “We Need the Living Water.” We then wait in hopeful anticipation that […]

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