Farming and faith: We are thankful for help, harvest

Janie and Milt Corley operate Christian Way Farms with the help of their three children.

Janie and Milt Corley operate Christian Way Farms with the help of their three children.

By Janie Corley

The first employer was God and the first employee was a farmer named Adam. “The LORD God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.”

But the job was too big for one man. “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is like him.’” (Genesis 2:15, 18 HCSB).

Farming is definitely a partnership. There may be one person in the household who wears the title of “farmer,” but he or she definitely cannot do it alone.

Growing up on a small farm, I learned early that when rain is coming, everybody has to help, or when Dad is not home, somebody else has to feed the animals. And if you aren’t in the fields or in the barns helping, you are in the house fixing meals or paying the bills.

When Milt and I married and moved to our own farm, we learned quickly that the partnership would extend to our children. As soon as they were old enough to have a responsibility, they became part of the team. The reality is that God also extends that help outside our families. On many occasions those helping on our farm are there because God placed them there to be our helpers.

One July morning, our children were young and we were in desperate need of some help. We had so much to do, and we were exhausted.

That morning before crawling out of bed we asked God to send help. Before we could even get breakfast, the doorbell rang. On the doorstep, stood a man and his family. He was a factory worker and they lived in the city.

He looked at us and said, “We had the day off and just thought maybe you could use our help today.”

He had to have left his home before we even prayed that prayer, but God knew we could not do it alone and he sent the help we needed before we even asked for it.  That family spent the summer helping us. We didn’t have the money to pay them, but we had lots of fresh vegetables to give them in return for their labors.

As farmers in this community we need each other. We need the support of our equipment suppliers, our farm supply stores, our bankers and those who buy our harvest. We value the prayers of those who pray for the rains to come and for the rains to stop. We so appreciate the friends and extended family who show up at just the right time. The support is absolutely necessary and absolutely Biblical.

In Corinthians Paul says, “The Lord assigned each his task: I planted the seeds, my friend watered them, but God made them grow.” (I Cor. 3:5-6 paraphrased).

From the story of creation we know — “God caused the earth to produce vegetation and living creatures according to their own kind.” That’s His job.

God did not design for us to tend his garden alone, nor does He expect us to produce the harvest. The blessing of farming is seeing new life, knowing that He has given us a task and lots of helpers as we work together to get the job done, and then trusting that the harvest is His because He makes it grow.

How thankful we are to make this prayer a part of our daily lives:

Jesus, thank you that you called us to be farmers and for the helpers you give us so we don’t have to do it alone. And thank you most of all that your love for us means that YOU provide the seed and the harvest. AMEN

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