Learning About Life from a Farmer
If you were to look through the Bible, you’d be surprised to find that Scripture encourages us to look to the life of a farmer as a prime example for living our own lives.
When Paul wrote to Timothy in encouraging him to be strengthened in the grace of our Lord, he pointed specifically, toward the hard-working farmer as an example (2Timothy 2:6).
When he exhorted the saints in his writings to the Galatians toward endurance, he spoke of perennial planting and waiting for an inevitable harvest (Galatians 6:9).
In life, we could all learn a lot by following the farmer as an example.
Sometimes, the twists and turns, and the storms of life can cause us to grow weary in doing good as we plant and wait for growth and pray for a bountiful harvest.
Sometimes, outside factors like pests, and changes in the climate can come in and devastate a field, which has been cultivated over time.
This was our very similar experience in ministry, where others (much like the pests of the field) came in to undermine our efforts and investment made over a period of years, and suddenly we found ourselves, in an instant, looking over what appeared to be a barren landscape.
It can be intimidating looking out across what looks like barren fields, and it seems as though our efforts in producing a harvest have suddenly been stolen away by outside forces.
What can one do in such a circumstance?
We can only begin by trusting, preparing, and starting the planting cycle all over again.
At times, it is easy to feel trapped by the challenges of life and how much work there is yet to do.
At times, I stand with soil stained clothes and hands, wondering if my labor matters, or if it will even amount to anything.
How do I continue in all God has called me to do without growing weary, especially when the future work can look so daunting, and the harvest appears to be so far into the future?
I look to the farmer for answers.
Fact is, cultivating, weeding, and watering all take time and patience.
All of these things require trust and commitment to the One Who causes all things to grow.
A Farmer Has an Unshakable Commitment to the Harvest
Farming is a way of life, a lifelong commitment. It’s not a typical job, where you work from 9 to 5, and can give your two weeks notice and simply walk away when things suddenly go wrong around you.
When you farm, you’re connected to a specific plot of land, and you’re investing into a specific community, and oftentimes it is connected to previous generations of family who have farmed there before you.
In other words, there is a deep-roots, big picture time tested perspective required for seeing success.
The big picture is this: The farmer is covenanted to his work for a lifetime, and he works his land with the harvest always in view before him.
Every investment that he makes is in his preparation of the soil, investments made in equipment, and every decision regarding precise planting times, in every aspect…
All of it is done with a future harvest in mind.
Much like the Farmer, in all of our lives, we too are called to a life-long commitment to the harvest, and this lifelong commitment is played out in everyday acts of devotion.
A lifelong commitment entails unrelenting faith along with brief times of abundance.
When I was younger, I’ve believed the opposite about the life of a Farmer, much the same as I believed about my faith and ministry, that a short-term commitment would somehow produce a great everlasting harvest.
This is neither true about Farming, nor is it true about Discipleship.
Fact is, we would all prefer a simpler, faster, and more glamorous way, but Scripture never portrays the Christian life in this way.
At its very epicenter is the commitment to dying to self; to a deep-roots , big picture, where instant growth, instant fruit, instant gratification can never be the goal, but is actually a slow steady pace of cultivating, which produces wonderful results over the course of time as a byproduct.
In a fast-food, fast paced society, it is difficult for many today to see the big picture in understanding the time, patience, and commitment necessary to make it over the long haul.
The Faith and Fruitful Work of a Farmer
Farming can oftentimes be a back-breaking, tedious, and dirty work, and most of all, there are no iron clad guarantees.
In our short time, since setting out to cultivate and redeem the land at the Eden Homestead, two hurricanes have blown through our property in two seasons, and wiped out a number of our fruit trees in our orchard, and a number of plants in our raised beds.
All that labor, all that time, all that waiting …for nothing. And you could easily find yourself asking:
What’s the point?
Why would anyone invest everything in such a high risk venture?
We might ask this within ourselves, thinking about our own lives and our own efforts to produce a spiritual harvest and come to realize that we have seemingly harvested nothing, or have been suddenly wiped out entirely by circumstances, or by others.
The farmer looks at his failed crop as a tangible reminder that the harvest entirely belongs to our Lord.
The farmer must be faithful to lay the groundwork for the harvest in patiently preparing the storehouse, the soil, and the fields, but the harvest cannot be forced; it can only happen through endurance, and God’s divine providence.
In farming, as in life, both can sometimes throw some curveballs at you!
At the last minute the weather can change, as people can change, and there can come situations, where there is nothing you can do to protect your crops.
It’s very similar to parenting.
We parent our kids over a long period of time, and there are at times, moments that show us that we are on the right track, but the fact remains that we won’t see the full reward until the end.
And even then, we may not experience our expected result.
As in farming, however, there are at times, necessary steps you’ll have to take by faith in order to make it through until that time of the harvest.
There are things at times that pop up in the growing season that are neither helpful, or necessarily what you’d expect, or even want to see.
You can experience heavy rainfall or other events that you don’t want to see destroy your crops and your landscape.
I’ve learned not to go outside to look at the field and garden on the days it rains, because that’s when they are looking their worst.
Much like the many other things we fear in life, I’ve come to discover that it’s never as bad as we thought though, after we come through it.
So, in the end, no matter what our crops look like, we have to trust God that He’s going to take care of us. After all, He is the Lord of the harvest!
To focus on fruitfulness within itself, is a frustrating endeavor; but to work, and walk in faith is what we are called to do.
And it really is all that we can do.
Our lives (much like that of the Farmer) are an ongoing exercise in learning to trust God despite what we see “in the now.”
The Farmer as a Visionary
Even when the irrigation line breaks, and you’re knee deep in mud and manure, the reward is always in sight.
There is joy in the harvest, and the greatest satisfaction belongs to the one who faithfully, and carefully cultivates it all the way along through its development.
The hard-working farmer, as Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:6, is the one “who ought to have the first share of the crops.”
On the surface, it could mean that the farmer first eats of his labor, but when you chew on this passage, it means so much more than that.
Joy results from endurance, and long-term faithfulness.
It brings an indescribable contentment in seeing what’s produced over the years.
It comes through learning the secret of joy in trusting in God’s plan and in His provision, and experiencing his constant goodness.
There is also joy in what we cannot see.
One great example is easily seen in how one tiny seed can become a huge plant that produces a thousand fold of seeds.
We discovered this everyday miracle in our raised beds when we first planted at the Eden homestead.
In a similar way, the harvest multiplies itself and goes out into the world in a way that we will never fully see the results of with our own eyes.
Just because we, or others close to us can’t see it, it doesn’t mean that it is not happening.
In our work and in our weariness, let us look unto the Farmer.
Let us set our roots deep, and keep the time tested “big picture” in mind.
Faithful commitment is the key to seeing lasting results.
If we don’t give up, one day we will enjoy the final harvest and partake of its bountiful and lasting rewards.
Unlike the changing circumstances we experience in our own farming practices, this harvest, when cultivated by faith, is as absolutely abundant, blessed, and ordered by God!
How cool is that?
Lord Bless You!
Don & Rosana Blizard
Our Eden Homestead is a place of discipleship, where we have cultivated our training & equipping curriculum for the school. For more information on discipleship training feel free to contact us directly, or visit our events calendar provided on our website.
Now Is The Time!