Reflections on the Sower

October 2007 - with hearts full of gratitude toward those who partner with us in the sowing


Yesterday I was reading the gospel accounts of the parable of the sower.  Today I woke thinking of a statuette of a Russian peasant farmer that stands on our kitchen shelf here.  Ann and I bought him while in St Petersburg back in the late nineties.  There are many things I really like about him.  One, he?s just so Russian.  As I travel this country, especially as we travel by train across the Russian countryside, I am continually reminded of the cursed soil upon which we live.  Watching so many Russian people so dependent on drawing their very life from the soil day to day, I am reminded that the sweat of our brow is just one more way our lives are marked by sin, and thereby a constant reminder of His marvelous grace.  What God said to Adam I see represented in the face of the Russian farmer, ?Cursed is the ground? in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life? by the sweat of your face you will eat bread??


But, there are two things in particular I really love about the statuette of the sower.  First is the way his worn knees and up-turned face are a reminder that we can prepare the soil and scatter the seed, but it is the Lord of the harvest who gives the increase.  (1 Cor. 3:7)  So many of us either are involved in sowing into the lives of children, or we were in the past.  For us it is both.  We find ourselves now sowing into the lives of Russian children, now that our own two sons, in whom we invested many years of sowing, are now out sowing in their own fields.  If I learned anything so far from my 28 years of parenting, that hopefully I?ve carried with me into this new chapter of parenting here in Russia, it?s that the most effective work I have ever done as a dad has been on my knees, beseeching the Lord of the harvest to bring forth fruit in the lives of our sons.  He did, and He continues to!


My other favorite thing about our Russian peasant statuette is how disproportionably large his hands are.  Perhaps I?m particularly drawn to that feature because I am a bit of a doer myself.  I kind of place a high value on my hands, but I think God does so even more.  He has many ways that He works in the world, and particularly in the lives of the kids we are planting with here in Voronezh.  For some reason, He chooses to work through our hands to touch the lives of these orphans He treasures.  When I submit my hands to Him for that purpose, and see Him work through them, my hands feel disproportionably huge. 


During this harvest season, I find myself on my knees again, overwhelmed with a spirit of thanksgiving for you who participate with us here in this planting in Voronezh.  Without you doing what you do to lift us up in prayer and contribute the resources for this work, we would not have the ability in our feeble little hands to even pick up a solitary seed, much less scatter them in abundance and till the soil in which they fall.  The real reason my hands feel so huge is because they are not merely mine, but they are a composite of hundreds of willing hands, offered up to the Father to accomplish His purpose in the lives of these children who are His treasure.


I hope this helps communicate what a treasure you are to us.  I know we don?t tell you enough, but I also know you are not doing it for the praise or recognition of men.  You have done it unto Him, and unto Him we offer this prayer on your behalf.


?Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.?   2 Co. 9:10


Gratefully your co-laborers for His harvest,

Robert and Ann