Farm Horizons, December 2013

Farming and the Bible

By Myron Oftedahl
Farm Business Management Instructor, South Central College

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

This was the Bible reading one Sunday, and the comments by the preacher got me thinking.

We, as farmers, are truly doing God’s work. We probably don’t openly go out and share the message of the Bible, but every year, we carry out God’s work.

Some of you may be saying that I don’t go to church and I don’t care about God, but bear with me; here is a mixture of His message and my thoughts.

Sowing the seed in church could represent Baptism. We are proclaiming that this baby will learn the ways of the church and the readings of the Bible. We are proclaiming our hope for this child’s future.

We, as farmers, are sowing a crop in the spring, proclaiming that we have hope for the future that this seed will yield a crop 30, 60, and some 100-fold.

As the child grows, we send them to Sunday school and confirmation to learn about the teachings in the Bible. We nurture them and try to protect them as they grow. We try to control the thorns or the negative influences in their lives.

We do the same thing with the crop, we nurture it by fertilizing it, controlling the weeds so that the crop can grow to its full potential. We know that thorns or weeds can choke a crop out so that it produces no grain.

As a farmer, we try to eliminate, or at least reduce the effects of soil compaction so that our crop doesn’t germinate and wither in shallow soil.

Harvest for the Bible represents the influences that the Bible’s teachings have had on our lives and the lives of those around us. Have you lived by the Golden Rule? Have you sown the seed of your beliefs? Have you tried to control the influences of rocky ground and thorns?

Harvest for the church is the end of our time on this earth; are there moments that took your breath away?

Harvest for farmers is the final test of our efforts of planting a crop, nurturing that crop, and protecting it from weeds and diseases. How well have we reduced the effects of stony, shallow ground? Did our efforts result in a 30, 60, or 100 times increase of grain?

So, we, as farmers, truly do have parallels with the Bible. Our actions every year follow the teachings, but could we do a better job of making disciples of others?

Could we do a better job of telling other people in our community, our state, our country, and our world that we, as farmers are raising the best quality product that we can, that we are doing it as efficiently as we can, that we are protecting this earth’s resources, and that we are following the Bible’s teaching that said, “ I was hungry and you gave me food?”

I believe, by 2030, the world population will double. Will we be able to double the amount of food available? Can we do this while protecting our resources? Can we do this in a sustainable manner?

Where do you fit in? Are you ready to be a disciple and spread the word? Are you willing to respond that yes, I can give you food?

A lot of research and the adoption of new practices will take place between now and 2030. Are you ready to adapt and respond to “I was hungry and you gave me food?”

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