One autumn a wealthy landowner hired two tenant farmers and gave them each a field, strictly commanding them … him a good harvest the next …

Through the cold winter nothing grew except the tenants’ visions of a bountiful harvest in the new season, and by April their zealous souls were sorely vexed to begin.
The wise tenant tempered his zeal with patience.  He planted nothing in April.  Yea, all he did was plow.  He planted in May, cultivated and watered through the summer and harvested in September.
But the foolish tenant planted straightway in April without plowing, for planting was second only to harvesting in the joy it brought him.  Yea, all he did the whole summer was plant and harvest.  He had no time for plowing first or for cultivating and watering as the crop grew.  A banner streaming from his tractor shouted “Plant early, plant often” on one side and “Harvest every day” on the other side.
In September, the landowner came and asked the wise farmer, “What has my field brought forth?”
“35,000 bushels,” he replied.
“Well done,” said the landowner.
Then he asked the foolish farmer, “What has my field brought forth?”
“7,000 bushels,” he replied.
“Why so perilously few?” said the landowner.
“I know not,” replied the fool, “I harvested every day since April.”
“You harvested in April?  When then did you plow and cultivate and water?”
The befuddled fool said, “You only told me to harvest.  I had no time to waste on those other things.”
Then the landowner said, “A command to harvest is a command to plow, plant, cultivate and water.”  And he tore the banner from the man’s tractor, shredded it and cast it to the winds.

(The above was first written in GMI Info magazine, 1997)

Doing business puts each B4T worker out in the harvest where s/he is constantly, yet naturally required by their life and actions to sow, cultivate and water.
When our co-workers and neighbors observe our actions, especially…
How we respond to troubles and tough times – seed is sown.
How we reach out to and bless them when they face troubles of their own – seed is cultivated
How we go the 2nd mile to bless strangers or competitors – seed is watered.
And in time, a harvest will be reaped.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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