That means he drives and works farm machinery, in his case all over the world. It requires stamina, patience and a serious amount of skill. This week he took me to a Spring Machinery Show where I learned more about slurry than I could ever want to know – which machine to use for what – how to mix it, how to spread it –you get the picture!
Actually it was really interesting, and I’ve come away with more respect than ever for the men and women who work hard throughout the year in all conditions to provide the food we need.
The Biblical nation of Israel were originally herdsmen who settled in and cultivated the land of Canaan. They knew what it was to be waiting for favourable weather, or living in dread of disease among the livestock. They knew what Jesus was talking about in His Parables of the Sower, or the Wheat and the Weeds. (Luke 8 v 4-15, Matthew 13 v 24-30)
The Apostle Paul also used farm imagery, famously, ‘a man reaps what he sows’ (Galatians 6 v 7), or the picture of humble teamwork required (in church and elsewhere) which reminds us, ‘neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, Who makes things grow.’ (1 Corinthians 3 v 7)
More mindful than ever these days of how we depend on the Lord God for everything, I’ve been writing prayers on a wide range of topics. This one is for the farmers, with respect and gratitude:
For the Farm
Lord, people say we’re at the mercy of the weather,
‘Climate change’, government regulations and quotas.
I would rather think myself at the mercy of a loving God,
The Giver of the harvest, Who sends
Sunshine and rain on good and bad alike.
I dedicate this piece of land, these livestock,
And my work this day, this year
To you and your glory.
For myself and my neighbours I request
Warmth and moisture as needed in season,
Growth in the fields, bread for the table,
Health for the animals, and safety
For those working the herds, the flocks or machinery.
Grant us wisdom and skill,
Patience and strength to persevere.
Grant us reward in our labour,
And a fruitful yield for many to enjoy.
Teach us reverence and help us remember
That man does not live by bread alone,
But by every true word of yours.
So accept my thanks which I offer up in faith.