03 July 2011

Farmers, Faith, and the Father

Virginia and I had watched the growing of winter wheat beginning in late summer of 2010 until the spring of 2011. You see, when we are approaching our home we leave the city limits and pass through a portion of a farm that is located on both sides of County Road 12 or Powell Road. We then turn south for a short distance and once again we are in the city limits of Prattville, Alabama where we make our home. Presently we are observing how fast the soybeans and the purple hull peas are growing so rapidly since we have finally received some wonderful and much needed rain. Though I have never farmed on such a level, I have had gardens in most places where we have lived. In fact, in one town I had 30 long rows of various vegetables. One morning I pulled 300 hundred ears of sweet corn for Virginia to prepare and freeze for later consumption by our family of six. But I do enjoy watching the crops grow to maturity so the farmers can harvest them.
Farmers, bless their hearts, have to be people of great faith. Faith that in the future when the seeds are planted the sun will warm the earth and that the rains will fall to aid the seed to germinate and then to water the plants in order for them to grow until the harvest time. Patience in the ploughman is predicated upon faith, faith that the God of the universe will supply the needed environment for there to be a harvest. The biblical writer James wrote in James 5:7, “Therefore be patient, brethren unto the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” Farming is certainly a calculated risk because if there is not enough moisture for the plant to grow, or, if there is too much water there will a disaster and not a harvest.

The writer James also declared in chapter 1 and verse 17 of his epistle, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” There are two points to consider from this passage. The first is that God the Father is the source of all of life’s blessings. We will agree that the needed ingredients for the harvest of the various crops are the warmth from the sun and the rain that falls upon the earth. Second, when God says something you can ‘bank’ on it. The Lord Jesus made this declaration as found in Matthew 5:45, “(F)or He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Thus all men are recipients of the physical blessings from the Heavenly Father, the Creator of the universe. Following the universal flood God made a promise when He said, “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).  There are times when we have cold days in the summer and hot days in the winter but the fact is that as long as the earth exists there will be the different seasons of the year for the planting and the harvest of the various crops by the famers.
While driving by the acres of winter wheat one day we saw a man combining the wheat and I told my wife that I needed to take pictures of that beautiful scene. When we arrived home I got my camera and back to the field I went. I parked my truck and started to walk near the combine to take a picture of it and when I did the operator stopped and motioned for me to come near and so I did. Then he pushed the door opened and asked me to join him. I was really surprised at his offer but I hurried to the machine and climbed up in the cab with the gentleman. This was my first ever ride in such a giant of farm machinery. After we introduced ourselves I began to take pictures. I could not help but think of this poem as we harvested the beautiful wheat:
“Back of the loaf is the snowy flour,
Back of the flour, the mill;
Back of the mill are the wheat and shower
And the sun and the Father’s will.”

That is the very reason why we all should express our gratitude to God before we eat our food like the apostle Paul did as recorded in Acts 27:35, “And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.” He recognized that it was God who had blessed them with the food that they were about to eat.

How truly blessed we are in this land wherein we live. God has been good to us as a nation of people and we should never forget His grace in providing our freedom and the physical and material blessings we enjoy.

It was in the year of 1893 when Katherine Lee Bates, age 33, an English professor at Wellesley College made a train trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado to teach summer classes when she was inspired to write the following poem because of the beautiful scenery she saw while traveling. I just believe that she was greatly motivated to write certain lines in her poem when she saw the magnificent fields of wheat in the state of Kansas. Here is the first stanza of that poem:

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!


(Photos by RE)

3 comments:

Warren Baldwin said...

Raymond,
This is a great article. I like your spiritual points and just how you have written about nature, farming, and the beauty of our country. And I live in Kansas now, so I know about the fields of grain and wheat.

It is so good to get reacquainted with you after so many years (about 20). I used to assist you at the Bible Camp in Alabama in the 1980s, remember? I preached in Marianna, FL. I moved away in 1990 and have preached in Wyoming (almost 10 years) and now in Kansas (over 11 years).

Glad to see you still preaching and writing. I have very fond memories of our camp work together.

God bless,
Warren

Sheila Odom Hollinghead said...

Enjoyed so much reading this and seeing the beautiful pictures. An interesting thing--the blog-chain I belong to is writing on the topic of "harvest" this month. Thanks for sharing!

Sheila Odom Hollinghead said...

I used the poem in my blog today. It fit in quite well!