The beauty of redeeming the dirt is that it is a road we travel, not a place at which we arrive.
After the last post I want to make sure that I didn’t discourage anyone. My goal with this blog is not to focus on the shortcomings of the way many of us farm, but to try and discuss where God wants us to be heading wherever we are right now. I want to provide encouragement for us in the journey of redeeming our dirt. Even though we may not all be on the same leg of the journey, we can all have unity, because we all have the same direction, which is Christ.
Many times it’s easy to get discouraged as we seek to be obedient to the scriptures and honor God in every aspect of our farming. As we begin to realize our responsibility to follow Christ more fully it seems like an impossible task. However, God is faithful, and never calls us to do something without providing us with the means to do it. This doesn’t mean that our farms will be perfect overnight. Sanctification is a journey consisting of individual steps, one at a time. And God doesn’t normally provide us with the means to take more than just the next step.
One example of this would be the chicken feed we use on our farm. As a Born Again Farmer I want to honor the way God designed chickens and feed them what they naturally eat. Therefore, I would love it if I could provide them with access to a selection of things like natural grain or roots, grasses and greens, grit, insects, and water. However, although chickens can get much of this from free-ranging, there isn’t normally enough space to provide food for all their needs plus extra to produce eggs for me. So, in order to care for and work them I have to provide some sort of feed other than forage. When I first started farming I wasn’t in a position to grow my own feed. So with my first chickens I just fed them commercially-mixed chicken feed from the local feed store. It was the best I could do with what I had available. However, I was on the lookout for more God-honoring feed options.
After several years the Lord provided a local feed mill that mixes it’s own natural chicken feed from fresh ground grain and organic mineral supplements. More expensive, but much better quality! You can tell a difference in the eggs. However, the feed still contains genetically-modified grain, which I would like to avoid in order to be as honoring to God’s design as possible. The owner of the feed mill is also naturally-minded and has his own free-range chicken flock and would like to stop using the GMO grains. However, at the moment we haven’t found a reasonable source. Because so much of the grain grown in the U.S. is GMO, unmodified grain has become a specialty product bringing a high price. And in my area of the country, there aren’t many grain farmers that we could get to grow some for us. So right now I have to rest in the fact that I am feeding the chickens the best feed I can while keeping my eggs affordable, but am working on trying better options as the Lord reveals them. For instance, earlier this year I experimented with growing oats and letting the chickens harvest them themselves.
The Lord can use us wherever we are. Whether we are a large scale grain farmer, a small scale organic farmer, or a back-yard gardener, the goal is to be ever changing and reforming our farms to be more and more God-honoring. Because of sin, we will never fully arrive, but we want to be heading in the direction God wants us. So don’t let the current place God has you in your journey discourage you from pressing on. Just be faithful with the talents the Lord has entrusted to you at the time.
Lets also be careful not to judge others because God may have them on different part of the journey. We need to be bold in stating God’s principles, but humble and full of grace in considering application. Instead, lets focus on encouraging one another in the journey, and being faithful to press hard after Christ.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:47,48 (NIV)