My husband, the agronomist, spends his day working the soil. He has an uncanny way of knowing the condition of the soil. When he drives the John Deere 7530, working ground, he will often stop the tractor just to reach his weathered hands into the earth to feel it. If the soil feels ready, “he sows seeds,” if the soil proves deficient for sowing, he amends the soil to get it ready for sowing. Always laboring the soil.
Fatherhood is sowing heart seeds and shepherding hearts.
Fatherhood is preparing the heart-soil of children. William Shakespeare declared, “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” Just like the farmer knows his soil, a father knows the condition of the heart of his children. A farmer never abandons his field; he works with the soil until it’s ready for sowing. He fertilizes to improve the richness, so when the seeds fall into the earth; they explode with readiness. Fathers, the sowers, toil with hearts, preparing “good soil to produce good grain.”
Fatherhood is for sowing heart- seeds. Just as the farmer painstakingly prepares the soil for sowing, a father nurtures heart soil for kingdom work. Heart-soil that is fertile for the gospel. Soil that will grow and be ready for harvest.
Farmers protect their crops from weeds that would suffocate life from the seedling. Likewise, heart-sowers empower their children with gospel instruction, teaching them life lessons of sowing and reaping. Heart lessons that strengthen and fortify to fight the weeds of foolishness, pride, to recognize wickedness, to hear and understand the Word so that he will bear good fruit and produce a high yield.
Fatherhood is shepherding. Also on our farm we have sheep and like most sheep they know the voice of the one who provides the food and the one who offers shelter and protection. Fathers who shepherd feed children gospel food. Food that nourishes the heart. Fathers who shepherd instruct the heart to submit to the Supreme Shepherd, the Divine Protector who offers heavenly protection.
The heart-sower and the shepherd father point children to the “centrality of the gospel” (Dr. Tedd Tripp). The gospel that offers redemption for seeds that fall on rocky soil or for the lamb who strays from the herd.
As I ride down my rural road and view the acres of healthy crops which will soon be a bountiful harvest, I am reminded of how it all began with a seed carefully placed in healthy soil.