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Farming and Faith: Just what do farmers do in the wintertime?

By Janie Corley
As we finish the fall season, we often hear from people who do not farm, “What do farmers do in the winter?” In the spring, everyone can see us out in the fields working the soil and planting. The fields are full of farm animals, tractor equipment and evidence of the farmers at work.
With summer comes the bounty of produce, the smell of fresh cut hay, and again, we see the farmers at work.  Fall arrives and brings with it the evidence once more of the farmers’ labors — the fields are full of combines and all are enjoying the fruits of spring and summer labors as the harvest is here.
But now, the weather turns cool and farming season is over so certainly the farmer gets to spend the winter months just resting, right?  What could a farmer possibly have to do in the winter?
“… Be ready in season and out of season …” (2 Timothy 4:2)
For us, we know it’s about being ready — Are the animals protected from the weather? Do they have hay and fresh water? Is the equipment serviced and ready for spring? Has all the proper paperwork been filed with the farm service agencies and tax authorities? Have seed and fertilizer purchases been researched and planned? Have we studied all available information for reducing our inputs and planning for greater yields and greater profits?
Our jobs are to be ready for each season, reviewing our previous year and preparing for the next, making changes as necessary, all in preparation of planting for the purpose of a harvest. No matter the season, there are always jobs to do to be prepared for the current and the next season.
When Timothy wrote those words about the Kingdom of God, he expounded on what it meant to be ready: “Preach the Word … reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” He reminds us that we have a job to do to prepare for a great harvest, but that great harvest will only come if we are ready both in and out of season.
As we, farm families, spend our winter getting ready for the spring season of planting, it’s a great time to reflect on our own preparations in the Kingdom of God. Are we studying the Word with as much attention as we do the latest information on new farm technology and the latest seed products? Are we equipped to use patience to instruct those around us in the Truth found in God’s Word? We have the job of planting seeds. And we have the job of planting the Word. They both require effort to be ready.
Are we as prepared to plant the Word as we are to plant our crops? When the snow falls and creates a beautiful winter landscape are we reminded that Jesus is prepared to “wash us whiter than snow?” As we prepare for spring, are our hearts prepared for Jesus? Have we allowed Him to wash them clean?
We must continually ask, “Are we ready?” Have we made sure the ones around us are ready? Have we proclaimed the Word, corrected, encouraged and loved those around us with great patience and instruction?  Are we “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks us to give an account for that hope that is in (us), with gentleness and reverence”? (I Peter 3:5)
“For this reason, you also must be ready, for the Son of man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” (Matthew 24:44)
It really does not matter what season it is or whether or not we are farmers. Our job is to be ready. I believe He is coming.

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