Farming The Land

j0182676“Go out to all the world and tell the good news.”

What if Christianity was an agricultural enterprise?

Suppose Christianity was conceived as a farming project?

And suppose the gospel was the single seed being sown by the owner of the farm? (Please see Mixing Metaphors).

How would this farming project logically begin, and how would it increase?

Initially, it would be necessary for the farmer to equip his laborers with the seed, and send them out to nearby fields to begin sowing. After a certain period of time the harvest would come, and hopefully the farmer would show a small profit.

Next year, using his profit, he would likely send out additional laborers to plant new fields, with the same result, thereby expanding year by year.

Fast forward 2000 years. This farm has been a colossal success and now covers 30% of the earth’s surface. It is organized and robust, and it supports a massive and thriving farming community. Obviously, the farmer is quite pleased with his progress.

Seeing his success, and being forward thinking, the farmer is understandably eager to plant and develop the remaining 70% of his land. But due to the economies of scale he sees that it is no longer feasible to send out individual laborers, with small packages of seed, to increasingly far-flung lands. That model will have to give way to new mechanized farming techniques. He knows the same exact seed needs to be planted, but what new tools does he have at his disposal?

In our day and age, for the first time in human history, the seed itself (the gospel) can be mass-produced by a process known as print-on-demand.

And, for the first time in human history, the seed can by distributed rapidly and intelligently by another new process known as direct mail.

These new processes are increasingly available within vast areas of currently un-planted territory across the globe.

Just for example, here is an article distributed by the India Department of Posts several years ago:

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

With competition catching up fast, India Post is changing with the times! Coming on top of several new initiatives to provide value additions to its customers, the Department of Posts on Monday launched “Direct Post”. The “Direct Post” service enables a customer to distribute publicity material for marketing a product to a large number of households in a particular area through the post office “For its sheer size and reach, this is a better way to market a product with six lakh workforce spread over 155,000 post offices. Besides, subscribers may not read publicity material distributed along with newspapers. But when it is delivered by a postman, chances are that people will pay a lot more attention,” says the official.

The India Post belongs to an organization called the Asian Pacific Postal Union, comprised of 32 member countries throughout the continents of Asia and Australia. Furthermore, the Asian Pacific Postal Union is a sister organization, and is closely related to, the Pan African Postal Union, which is made up of 44 member countries in Africa. Together, these two postal unions are focused entirely on quality of service, and they consider the post to be a positive catalyst for socio-economic development. The Post Office Departments of their member nations are all, more or less, patterned on the same model.

The countries that they serve and represent are the very countries we are trying to reach with the gospel, those very people who have never been approached, ever, with the message of Jesus. Statistically, the average age of these people is 26 years old.

Returning to our farm metaphor, “laborers” can begin sowing seeds immediately without the customary long years of training required in the past. No training in ministry, no theology, no psychology, no ordination, no investiture of any kind. The new laborers are dependable and hard-working postal workers.

Postal workers, by the very nature of their job, are responsible, accountable, judicious, and trustworthy. They have been trained to deliver the mail without judging its content or interfering with its purpose. They are amply paid and they depend on their jobs for their livelihood. They are the perfect people to carry out Christ’s wishes: “Go out to all the world and tell the good news.”

Don’t worry. Those highly trained men and women currently on staff within the vast farming community will have their hands full when the next harvest comes in. The seed is just as potent as ever, and promises an abundant harvest, as always.

All that remains is a little cooperation among willing individuals and a positive outlook for the future of the world.

My next post, Political Baby Steps, describes one way to advance our political campaign.

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