I had breakfast in a soybean field this week. I was in Milan, Tennessee to attend the celebrated Milan “No Till” agricultural festival. Milan, by the way, is the hometown of two notable past Presidents of the University of Tennessee- Dr. Andy Holt and Eli Fly. Not too shabby for a town with a population of 7,800 folks.
No Till is an farming method that doesn’t disturb the soil as much as traditional methods- among other things it allows great moisture retention. The event draws hundreds of people from across the state and region to witness advancements in agricultural technology and demonstrate the latest improvements in farming methods.
I attend many events like this each year- but this one is special. It’s a celebration of an agricultural culture. A celebration of the soil and the fruit, vegetables and crops that come forth from it. It’s also a celebration of people- farmers and their families. Good, hard-working, intelligent and honest folks.
Cycles are inevitable in agriculture. There is a time, a season and a reason for everything. Planning, planting, feeding and harvesting are all vitally important to the farming process.
And to me- this trip back home to West Tennessee was a reminder of the temporary nature of our own lives. Our earthly bodies, like the plants of the field, aren’t built for immortality. We know that God formed us from the dust of the ground.
…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
We are also reminded that our bodies will eventually return to the earth.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. Genesis 3:19
Our earthly life is a cycle. We are born, grow, and work. We age and eventually pass away. But just as our friends lay great plans for their crops of the fields, our Heavenly Father has a plan for us.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16
Our time on earth is limited, but we have a purpose. We need to be fruitful and work to realize God’s will for the cycle of our temporary, earthly life.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
Let’s make our limited days on earth productive and eventually experience the full blessing of the harvest. God needs workers.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38
While crops take time to grow and harvest- our work with our neighbors (near and far) does not have a time table. It is immediate.
It’s time for all of us to get our hands dirty. We need to encourage one another to do good in order to glorify God’s most Holy name while on earth.
But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13:21
Let’s hit the fields together.