#186: What Do You Say When Someone Asks, “What Do You Do?”

“What do you do?” You’ve probably been asked and answered this question dozens of times. It’s a standard icebreaker question at parties, networking events, conferences, meetings, and more.

Seed, Farmer

For many years, my answer would be along the lines of, “I am a sales manager.” Later in my career, the answer might have been “I am a marketing manager.”

More recently, after I retired for three months, the answer was “I am a student in seminary.” Then it was, “I am a minister.” By the way, saying I was a minister seemed to end conversations and scare off the most people!

These days, when asked, I will usually say, “I am an author. I write two blogs; one about leadership and the other a Bible study.”

A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany, a head slap moment, when I realized that’s only part of the answer. The real answer to the question of what I do is, “I am a farmer, I plant seeds.”

And here’s the thing. If you are a Christian, so are you! You’re a farmer. You plant seeds. Or at least you should if you are following Jesus’ command to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

I plant the seeds of the Word of God. Sometimes I get to water the seed, sometimes someone else does. Regardless of who plants or who waters, it is up to God to make the seed grow (1 Corinthians 3:6).

These days we tend to think the job of the Christian farmer to plant the seeds of the Word of God and water them is best left to the “professionals.” The folks in full-time ministry; our pastors.

Farming is Not Just for the Professionals!

In my experience, people who believe planting and watering are best left to professionals believe one of two things:

1) Jesus gave the Great Commission to the disciples so it doesn’t apply to us, ordinary people. Wrongo! Jesus said when you receive the Holy Spirit, you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

2) Only those who have “the gift of evangelism” are obligated to be witnesses. Baloney! Jesus never said only certain people should be witnesses. Returning to Acts 1:8, Jesus said everyone who believes will be a witness.

4 Reasons You Should Be a Farmer

1) The command to witness was given to all believers (Acts 1:8). Paul, writing to the Corinthians said we are all ambassadors for Christ (1 Corinthians 5:18-20).

2) In the early church, ordinary believers were witnesses. When Saul was persecuting the church, Luke notes that as the new believers scattered they went preaching the Good News (Acts 8:4).

3) We all have a stewardship responsibility. We have been given the gift of salvation through faith in Christ. Jesus specifically told us not to hide our light under a basket but to let it shine before men (Matthew 5:15-16).

4) Farming is part of the “work” of the ministry. Paul, writing to the Ephesians (4:12), said the spiritual gifts were given to equip the saints for ministry and in this list of gifts Paul included the gift of evangelism.

Not Every Planted Seed Will Grow

By now I hope you are willing to say, “I am a farmer” because you plant the seeds of the Word of God.

Our responsibility is to plant the seed. As Jesus said, while teaching the disciples, the seed will be sown on four kinds of soil (Matthew 13:18-23):

  • The path. Satan took away the seed sown on the path.
  • Rocky soil. The hearer hears and receives the Word but has no root and dies from pressure or persecution.
  • Among the thorns. The hearer hears but is worried about the cares of the world and the Word is choked out.
  • Good soil. The hearer hears and bears fruit yielding an increase over what was sown.

Note that most of the seed that is sown bears no fruit. There is nothing wrong with the seed. The issue is with the soil it is sown in.

Leaders Lead by Example

There is no Biblical exclusion that releases leaders in the workplace from the responsibility of being responsible stewards of God’s Word.

Leaders lead by example. Therefore, let your light shine before men! And the next time someone asks, “What do you do?” you may say to yourself, “I am a farmer and I plant the seeds of the Word of God.”

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Do you see yourself as a farmer responsible for planting and watering the seed of the Good News? Do you let your light shine before men so others see it and are drawn to Christ?

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Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God

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2 thoughts on “#186: What Do You Say When Someone Asks, “What Do You Do?”

  1. Ron- I’m still a police chief so that’s often my answer at social functions. Although I’m close to retirement and have been trying on “I’m an artist and writer.” Where I live, there is quite an interest in organic farming. If I said I was a farmer, I suspect there would be many follow up questions about crops, seeds, soil! But I understand your underlying message here, and it’s a good one. We have the ability to help others and improve their lives, if we follow the example Jesus set.
    All the best!

    • John,

      Knowing how farmers like to compare notes, I had to laugh as I thought about you having a conversation with an organic farmer about crops, seeds, and soil. I always appreciate your perspective!