Supplier & Sower: Why You’re Really a Farmer
Being an entrepreneur is a lot like being a farmer. You work really hard, wait a long time for the harvest, and encounter all sorts of crap along the way. Your ability to succeed is dependent on the unpredictable weather patterns, also known as our good friends luck and timing. If you are in fact lucky enough for the sun and rain to nurture your crops and you have the patience to wait for a harvest, then you might just succeed. Maybe.
The good news is that comparing entrepreneurs to farmers isn’t just a tongue in cheek analogy. The Bible actually outlines an inspiring and challenging framework for entrepreneurs and professionals that links us to farmers or gardeners at a pretty intimate level. Taking the time to understand this framework will go a long way in helping you find ways to truly unlock God’s favor in the marketplace.
The Supplier & Sower
Think of your business as a garden. You’ve been given a plot of land with rich soil and seed to plant. In addition, you have access to the owner of that land so that if you have any questions about how to be a good gardener you can get the help you need. The sweetest part of the deal is that you get to keep 90% of your harvest; some of which you can sell and the rest you can eat. You just have to give 10% back to the person that gave you the land.
This is exactly what the Bible tells us God has done with our businesses and careers. Your business or career is a plot of land given to you by God. Consider the following verses which function as a backbone for this model:
- 2 Corinthians 9:10 – God is the supplier of seed and we are the sower
- John 15:16 – Says we have been appointed to bear fruit
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 – Says that if we repent from our sins, God will hear our prayers and heal our businesses
The first two verses listed above are pretty straight-forward. The third, 2 Chronicles 7:14, is especially interesting. The verse actually says that if we turn from our wicked ways and look to God, he will hear from heaven and heal our land. A natural interpretation might be to assume by land God means our country, state, or community. But what I think God was actually saying was that he would heal our businesses. Why business? Because when this was written, land was the main industry. Agriculture was everything. So for God to say this, it was a huge deal for the people of that time. Land was subject to drought and flooding – forces that could completely destroy a business at any given time. By saying he would heal the land God was promising to heal businesses.
The idea of giving land is a common theme in the Bible since the beginning of time all the way through eternity. In Genesis 2:15, God gives a garden to Adam and Eve. Then we see God promising land to the Israelites. You know, the Promised Land. Finally, we see the New Testament building on the promise of land by describing our inheritance in heaven – that being heaven on earth for all eternity – which we will rule and care for in perfection, much like Adam and Eve were originally called to do. As sons and daughters of God, we are promised an inheritance.
Understanding this framework also starts to put Jesus’ parables into context. Have you ever noticed how almost all of his parables contain a theme of agriculture? They are about seeds, sowing, farmers, bearing fruit, and so on. Although the parables make for cute stories, I think Jesus actually had a different goal in mind when speaking in agricultural analogies. Jesus was essentially speaking in business language common during that time. Today you might expect to hear Jesus speak of parables in terms of venture capital, social media, market fit, lean startups, and all the other business paradigms that we are relevant to commerce today.
When you start to take scripture more literally when it comes to the topic of land and agriculture, you begin to uncover a vast guide for being a marketplace Christian. You discover promises of blessing and favor, hope and inspiration, and a supplier/seed relationship that leaves you in a constant state of humility. After all, no matter how big your harvest is, if you remember that the seed and soil were a gift – it becomes difficult to want to take too much credit.
- How does this framework change the way you view scripture?
- How does this framework change the way you view your business or career?
- If you are in fact called to be a gardener, what are some of the things that you would do to take better care of your gardens?