(Mark 4:26–29) And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground,
27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.
28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.
29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
At the 2010 T4G meeting John MacArthur spoke on the theology of sleep from this passage.
We work in the daytime - planting the seed of the gospel. We sleep at night. Whether by night or by day the seed sprouts and grows. - We do not know how.
This is comforting in that we can sleep peacefully when we have completed our daily work. Staying awake is not going to help. We cannot make the seed sprout or grow. We can only wait.
There is a time to work and a time to rest. The real struggle is to do the work we should do in the time to work. There are many things to distract us. In this information age we could spend all day everyday reading news and articles and blogs and never plant even one seed of the gospel. I am sure that we all spend too much time on entertainment - T.V., Internet, Radio, Newspaper, Magazines, Mobile Phones, etc. (These are a bottomless pit.)
So - during the day we should be studiously working on planting seeds of the gospel. Planning human interaction - conversation - messages - hospitality - meetings - whatever we can that will plant seeds of the gospel. We should labor over that - at work, at home, at school - everywhere - every waking hour.
But then, we take comfort in the fact that it is God who makes the seed sprout and grow. We can take our rest, confident that God can make it grow and God will make it grow.
We keep on planting - everyday. We keep an eye on the fields - watching to see the sprouts. (I love that point where the fields have their first faint blush of green!)
(1 Corinthians 3:7) So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
I don't need to worry and fret - but I do need to plant the seed and water it. Why would there be a sparse harvest? The only reason is a sparse planting. God will not fail in His part.
(2 Corinthians 9:6) ¶ But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Work and rest. Day by day. God will give the increase and the time will come for harvest.
(Galatians 6:9) And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.