• David Osteen

The Parable of the Wise Old Farmer

Behold, a King of a great land sent some lazy servants to the home of a Wise Old Farmer. No farm in the land could produce crops like the Wise Old Farmer’s, and so the King inquired as to the Wise Old Farmer’s secret for such exuberant growth. The Wise Old Farmer said he would not reveal his secret, but that he would allow the King’s servants to observe for a week, and report back to the King what they learned. After a week’s time, the lazy servants reported back to the King that there was no secret. In fact, they never saw the Old Wise Farmer doing anything except working around the estate. They concluded this Farmer was just blessed with some really good soil.

The King, unsatisfied with this conclusion, since none of the Wise Old Farmer’s neighbors crops even came close to resembling the same success, sent another dispatch of soldiers to the Wise Old Farmer. “We are soldiers of the King, and we are here to inquire of the secrets of your success in farming. For the King’s other servants reported back that there was no secret, and that they never observed you doing any work.” The Wise Old Farmer replied, “If I worked liked those lazy servants then I would have no wealth to pay the King his taxes each season. And if you demand my secret by force, then I will destroy all my crops and the King will get no more taxes from me.” The King’s soldiers looked at one another puzzled as to how to respond. “But I tell you what”, said the sly old Farmer “You go back and report to the King that I will reveal to him the secrets of my success plainly, if I never have to pay taxes to him again.”

When the soldiers reported back to the King he found these words to be good; for he would lose the taxes of the farmer, but the knowledge to implement throughout the land would bring much more increase. When the soldiers returned to the Wise Old

Farmer with the agreement, the Wise Old Farmer said, “Now I know for sure that the King is ready and worthy to hear the secret. For he has shown his wisdom in accepting my offer. Here is the secret to success in producing such a crop. The truth is, the King’s lazy servants were correct, there is no secret and they didn’t see me do any work. There is no secret because hard work, diligence, and perseverance are valuable virtues known by all. However, they are not virtues appreciated and practiced by all. And these lazy servants never saw me doing any work, because my work was done by the time they arose and joined the day at 10 am. For me and my workers arise at 4 each morning, to work tirelessly in the cool of morn, and all of our labor in the fields are accomplished by 10, and the rest of the day is spent tending to matters around the estate. The blessings of God are not a secret. God sends the sun and rain upon my fields just as He does all my neighbors. The irrigation to my fields is not a secret; it is the work to dig and maintain them that makes them successful. There is no secret in the soil. It is the toil in tilling that brings success. The fertilizer is no secret. It is the labor in laying it that brings success. The greatest secret that the King truly seeks, is that there is no secret. If everyone applied as much hard work in the tasks they know need to be done, as they do in finding short cuts not to do those things, then success has the true opportunity to abound.”


Every mature Christian will ask themselves, “What can I do build up the local church?”, or “What can I do to help the church grow?” There are three underlying truths that must be accepted in order for one to have a true and lasting influence in building up the body of Christ. First, is that, just as we observed in the parable, there is no secret to growth or building up the church. The answers are the answers found in scripture. There is no short cut, no new age answer, technological or mystical cheat. Second, is that “you” are absolutely essential to building up the church. The church is made up of individuals. You are an individual member of it. To build up the church look no further than yourself. Third, it takes work to build up the church. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it or around it. It takes work. Are you ready for the work?

To build up the church you must identify your talents and put them to work. God has blessed us by his grace with different abilities. And while our abilities may differ, they all have the same function or purpose; to glorify Him in building up the body of Christ (Romans 12; Ephesians 4). In the Parable of the Talents, the Lord made it clear that we will be judged; not according to having talents, but according to how we use them. Identify your talents and use them for the Lord and you will build up the church and be considered a faithful servant, rather than a wicked lazy slave.

To build up the church you must identify your responsibilities and fulfill them. In a diverse readership such as this we can easily recognize the diversity in talent pool. However, despite that diversity, oftentimes we share the same responsibilities. Building up the church by teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is not limited to the “most talented singers”. It’s a responsibility of every singer, regardless of talent. That being said, sometimes our responsibilities will differ according to age, gender, etc. To build up the church, we must go to the scriptures to identify our responsibilities and fulfill them. Thinking “inside the Bible” and not “Outside the Box”, is the best way to consistently build up the body of Christ.

To build up the church you must identify your weaknesses and make them stronger. It is not enough to accept weakness and dwell therein. Just as we have an obligation to help our fellow brethren in their weaknesses, we also have a responsibility to help ourselves in our own. Just because you are not great at something, doesn’t excuse yourself from doing it. Work at it. Practice harder and harder. Do the things that are hard, so that you will receive the reward that is eternal.

“He who is slack in his work is brother to Him who destroys.” In the end, we must ask ourselves whose side we are on; God’s or the devil’s? If you are not helping to build up the church then you are helping to destroy it. That’s not a secret, that’s a fact. So take these words to heart and apply yourself in being all that you can be in building up the body of Christ of which you are blessed to be a part.

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