As we continue trying to navigate living in a world surrounded by an invisible enemy, I am reminded of something I learned many years ago. It is a principle that my father taught me about how to study the Bible. The principle is this: For every physical principle there is a corresponding spiritual one and vice verse.
What this means is that whenever we find and learn a principle in one area, if we take the time to plumb its depths, we may gain insight into the other.
One of the best examples of this is the idea of seedtime and harvest. All throughout scripture, and particularly in several of Jesus’ parables, the principles of agriculture are used. The purpose of these comparisons was to help his listeners understand the principle that governed a higher spiritual reality.
The problem is that if we do not understand the ideas and concepts that make up the examples being used, it will be difficult to understand the spiritual principle being taught.
This reality came into sharp focus when I served a small, rural church in a farming community while in college. One of the members had been a farmer his entire life. And his family had been farming in that area for three or four generations. During one of our bible studies, Jesus’ words in Luke 9 was the focus of discussion.
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (9:62)
I asked the “logical” question. Why is this true?
The seasoned farmer something like this (because I don’t remember exactly), “Because if he looks away from what’s in front of him, he can’t make a straight line.”
Was going to make some spiritual sounding point about commitment to the task, but a man who had plowed more fields than in his lifetime than I ever would saw the wisdom in the command.
I asked him to explain further. He went on to say that every farmer, before the time of tractors and GPS, would place a pole or marker of some kind at the end of each row. It was the plowman’s job to keep his eye on the marker. By doing this across the entire field, he would make straight rows that made it easier to plant and harvest. But it would also maximize the usage of the field.
Let’s just say my mind was blown. And so was my understanding of what Jesus was saying. By using a physical principle, Jesus was making a powerful statement about those who have been called into service in the kingdom. Thinking you know the answer does not mean you really do. This exchange taught me this valuable lesson.
As we continue our journey toward Easter and continue to practice the recommendations of our medical and civic leaders, I want to remind us all that there is still much work we can do. We can continue to redeem the time that we have been given for God’s glory, our edification, and our neighbor’s good.