Growing up in rural Indiana had a lot of great benefits such as, space between you and your neighbor’s house, being as loud as we want all the time, a slower pace in life, yard with no fences, bike rides around the neighborhood, and beautiful sunsets. One of the biggest benefits was being a farm kid. While I didn’t always love the chores and challenges on the farm, I always knew there was a reason bigger than me. Our farm was more of a recreational activity with horses, a couple cows, and a random goat. For my family, the farm was a method for ministry and a retreat from ministry. Our farms were always used for church gatherings and family events, but our farms were also our own place to retreat when we needed to unplug. Everyone loved going horseback riding, hiking trails, riding the 4-wheelers, and fishing in the pond.
Unless you grew up on a farm or helped at some point, it is not a challenge to think a farm stays beautiful on it’s own. When people met our new baby foals they probably didn’t think about the hours invested in waiting for the mare to deliver or sleeping in the back of a truck bed on a school night to make sure she was ok. It may even cross a person’s mind to think silly things like, “How did 600 square bales of hay find their way from the field where they magically grew in square shapes with wires into that loft 12 feet off the ground?” While all of these things were lots of hard work, and I really miss it now, we learned some great lessons. When it was bailing time we all had a role to play. Mom drove the tractor, dad kept things working, my brothers and I shared the duties of working the wagon and the loft. My sister made sure we survived by bringing lunch, drinks, and homemade cookies. In order to get the job done it required all hands on deck. As we graduated and moved away, the job became more challenging for those still behind. Same amount of work, but less workers to do it.
As we study together about being a church member and what is expected of us, I think back to the lessons I learned on the farm. At the end of the day, when the job was done, I knew I had done everything I could with the strength I had to help my family feed the horses and keep things going. Farm work and being part of the team wasn’t really about talents, skills, and passions God gave you. It was about bringing your best, pitching in, and getting the job done. This is my prayer for you and me as we grow together. Maybe it’s time for each of us to bring our best and let God take care of the rest!