Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 6, 1951

"Is The Seed Yet In The Barn?"

Robert C. Ewell, Woodsboro, Texas

In the study of the Bible we sometimes run across questions which stir up the imagination, and one such is to be found in Haggai 2:19, and it is: "Is the seed yet in the barn?"

I am sure that we can apply this question to the preaching of the gospel, and it would be good to ask yourself concerning the Word of God, is it yet in the barn?

We of the church know that the gospel, (the seed of the kingdom, Luke 8:11) hasn't been preached like it should have been to the world in the last few years or else would see a vast change in the thinking of men. Since something is evidently wrong, and when we begin to look for the answer, it is obvious that the seed hasn't been planted, and we can say of it that it is yet in the barn.

One of the major reasons that the seed is still there is that the church does not have the vision that it should. (Prov. 29:18) The church must preach the gospel to the world or else it will not be preached at all. (Eph. 3:10) Sometimes the workers are not ready to plant because they look out on the field, and see the failures that have happened, or else they are worried about what might happen, so they do no work at all. It is to be hoped that the church does not take the defeatist attitude because of the worldly ways of some congregations in the undertaking of the work, or else the straining of the patience of God with their multitude of schemes; and not do any work at all toward the saving of souls. (Prov. 11:30) It is safe to say that because of our lack of courage to tackle the thing where others have failed, is one reason that the seed is still in the barn.

We might ask again the same question, and look at it in another way, and such is the fact that we have been planting on the barn so much that we do not have time for the planting of the seed. If you will permit, let me apply such a meaning as this: i.e., We are sometimes so interested in the looks of our building, or the bigness of it and the fineness of its furnishings, that we spend all our time, and all that we can get together on the project of making a big show in the eyes of men, that we forget the preaching of the gospel. (1 John 2:15-16) Deny if you will the sinfulness of such actions among the churches, but just remember that you will try one of these days to explain it to the great Judge of all times. Yes brethren, the seed is yet in the barn, because we haven't built anything in the eyes of God, except the barn. The seed is important and to not forget that it depends on getting the seed out of the barn to do any good.

Again we can ask that question and apply it to the fact that we no longer have the right seed in the barn. In looking at the work and results of some congregations the question automatically pops up, "Do they even have the Word of God any more?" I know that this is a serious indictment against churches, but by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matt. 7:16) Think carefully and see if we have rooted out the seed of God, and are planting in its stead some of the seed of Satan. I know that we give little thought sometimes to the actions of our home congregations and the work that they are doing, but brethren, let us ask ourselves, "Is the seed of God yet in the barn, where we work and worship?"

One of the sure tests to the fact that we still have the seed is to ask about the love of the preachers, as to whether they love the money and ease that comes from preaching or whether they are interested in preaching the word. (2 Tim. 4:1-2) A sure test of this is the reason that causes a preacher to move from one place to another, does he move to get a better house or a better salary, or does he move because of the good that he can do? If it isn't for the sake of the gospel that we preach, then we can say in that respect, that the seed is definitely not in the barn, and some preachers don't care.

Again we can ask the question concerning the work of the elders, and deacons, in a congregation. Are they doing the work of elders because they are watching in behalf of souls, (Heb. 13:17) or do they love the prestige and praise, and power over their fellow Christians? (1 Pet. 5:3-4) Elders are going to give an account in the day of judgment for the work that they have undertaken, and a man had better not be an elder or be called an elder, if he is not going to do the work that an elder is supposed to do. (Heb. 13:17) Again as concerns elders sometimes the seed is laid aside when they are appointed and we ignore the fact that they are to be qualified in the sight of God, and appointed at and by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and not in the eyes of men. So then we use the seed of "doing the best we can," and forget to ask ourselves if God is pleased. Listen dear brothers, elders, you had better be sure you are doing what God says to do, and that the seed is planted as God directs, for you will give an account thereof come the day of judgment.

Another test is concerning members, as to whether the seed is in the church, and that is to ask ourselves do we use it, and love it? If we are not doing our duty and if we are not willing as members to listen to our duty, as it is preached, then as far as we are concerned the seed is no longer in the barn. If no fruits are brought forth in our lives and if we are not trying by public and personal work to plant it in others, then our lives are vain and we are literally sour seed in God's sight. How many of us are willing to teach our neighbor, and how many are willing to help our neighbor, that he may glorify God? How many of us are willing to support the preaching of the Gospel at home and abroad that souls may be saved? Are we because of our indifference, laziness, carelessness, and our short-sightedness, going to let the seed stay in the barn until it rots and can never bring forth fruit? Brethren the church needs to be planting the seed by the scoopful instead of by the spoonful. Until we wake up to the fact that the church has a right way to do this, and even if others abuse it and others fail, we are still obligated to preach it; then we will spin our wheels and let the world send itself through the gates of hell and we will be held accountable in the day of God.

Let us think what we will answer when the Judge of eternity asks us why we didn't do the work of God in planting the seed. Surely the way is fraught with danger, and the church may in some instances do the wrong thing, but what is to keep us from doing with all our might the thing that we know is right, and spread the Gospel as God would have it? (Jas. 4:17) Let us make up our minds that we can and will get the seed out of the barn, and into the field, unto the saving of souls.