I didn’t grow up on a farm. I take that back. The place I grew up was once a working farm, but by the time I came along, it was no longer in use. My brothers and I spent our days imagining castles and hacking out trails through large, shady trees. We picnicked near the creek and came back in time for lunch when we heard my mom or grandmother whistle from the back porch.
My kids are growing up on a farm. Both of them, when asked, say that their jobs will be farming when they grow up. They help Ben in little ways, usually bringing supplies to and from the toolbox or taking empty seed bags to the trailer. They help feed the cows and call them each by name. They appreciate the need to water plants to help them grow.
I love to watch Ben tending the things in his care. God called us to have dominion over the plants and the animals he created, and Ben does a great job of that. He models what it’s like to trust your provider. When the cows hear him crank up the Ranger, they are trained to think Ben is coming to feed them. Lots of times, we are just getting the kids out of the house and visiting with our neighbors, but the cows trust that he is caring for them all the same.
Ben’s mind is always thinking ahead to anticipate and meet the needs of his herd and his crops. He knows, just by looking at the cows’ hide whether they are getting adequate nutrition. Kinda like how God knows the very number of hairs on your head, huh? When the cows have an oily sheen, Ben knows they are eating a well-balanced diet.
When he peers off our back porch and sees that the herd has been walking all day, rather than lazing about chewing the cud, he knows they haven’t been satisfied with their intake and are searching for more.
He checks on the mamas after they have their calves. Sometimes he assists with the birthing process, which is more than ya girl daydreamed about when envisioning my adult life. In fact, my daydreams consisted of a lot more seashells and a lot less sweat and secretions.
Ben plans for his planting before ever placing the first seed. He tends his land, walking every inch of dirt, taking in which areas will need special attention and making notes about the way each row has traditionally produced. Only after the dirt is turned and reworked is it ready for seeds. He sets his equipment to push the seeds into the ground at very calculated intervals. He consults the weather to ensure they will have the nutrition needed to set roots and survive under the ground. He walks each field and watches for the first sprouting.
He even weeds by hand as needed, which is not necessary, as he formulates the perfect regimens that will maximize the growth of his crops with the use of modern chemical and fertility plans. He knows every blade, every pebble, every spot where deer munched the tops of his budding plants.
I forget about the plants. I get caught up doing everything else and assume the plants are doing fine on their own. They are lucky to have someone so vested in their well-being, who allows them to be coaxed out of their cotyledons into a full and thriving plant.
Seeing this cycle firsthand, it makes sense why Jesus used so many agricultural references in his teaching. Plus, the people of the time were as reliant on farmers as we are today. Though the prestige here is whitewashed, as most people assume the plants that show up in Publix do just that – show up. Most aren’t privy to the planters, pickers, and prayers involved in the produce we ultimately purchase.
I thought about how God tends to us like that. When it feels like we’re buried under the weight of all the dirt in our lives, we feel closed off from everything and everyone around us. But God is positioning us, and really those around us, to bloom. Right where we are planted. Even the branches that don’t produce this year serve a purpose. Because maybe next year, they will show signs of fruitfulness.
Can you imagine God walking around, checking on each of us. Seeing which of us needs more water, which of us needs more sunshine. Some of us need to be uprooted and moved to a more viable place. Some of us need to overwinter and bloom again next season. Some of us are ready for harvest.
And still some of us haven’t put down roots deep enough to withstand the storms. God knows the storms can potentially damage the leaves on the plants, but with them, the plants grow in hardiness and soak in the water.
But if we don’t have firm root systems, we will fall away, withering and not producing any fruit. It saddens me to think that God sees us each in the way Ben sees his plants and animals, yet God loving us much more than that, and offering us His perfect plan, and us choosing to remain in the sandy, nonviable land we have found ourselves in.
We look over and see the plants that are receiving all the rain and sunlight, not close enough to see the pests that have begun eating at the underside of their leaves. We make assumptions. Call them #blessed. But miss the Father’s hand in how they are blooming.
I entered a writing contest once. I worked hard on my piece and watched interviews with the editors prior to my submission. I laughed as her #1 recommendation was to write about something other than Mary and Martha or gardening. I talked about Mary and Martha in mine, and, needless to say, was not chosen. And now I’m writing about gardening, because another piece of advice I received was to write what you know.
Right now, I know that my kids are itching to go check on their beloved cows with names like Priscilla, Aaron, Moses, Naomi, Ruth, and Mary. Not because we made them choose Biblical names. But because Ben and I are intentionally placing Jesus in the forefront of our daily lives. We are weaving Him into the things that we do, sowing good seeds.
Our rescue cat, Tay, was recently bitten by a snake. Without missing a beat, Grey and Harlow stopped and prayed to Jesus to heal Tay Tay’s boo boo. Talk about melting your heart. But we could see a peek into the blooming of all the water we’ve been pouring over them, even at 2 and 4 years old.
What kind of seeds are you sowing? How are you tending your herd?
Are you speaking life over the things entrusted to you? Are you seeking God’s provision and trusting He will finish what He started?
Are you still looking at the barren field and wondering when your turn will come?
This week, let’s reflect on our paths. If you didn’t plan on your life looking the way it does now, think about the people and experiences that led you where you are. Can you trace God’s hand over the course? I love to see how, all along, God was preparing me and tilling the land ahead of me as I lagged behind.
Even if you have checked off everything on your bucket list, can you see that God was with you? Can you take some of the blooms in your garden to make someone else’s more beautiful?
Whether you’re in a season of sowing or reaping, planting or pruning, trust that God is your caretaker. He knows you and knows what is and is to come. He is already anticipating your every need and weeding out that which will hinder your herd.
Let’s love those around us, from our families, friends, cows, and cats. Keep setting your roots. Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty in the process of planting, pruning, and provision.
Psalm 8:6 “You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.”
Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Luke 12:7 “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Mark 4:17 “And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.”
Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”