Alive and Well in Kansas!!

“Then celebrate the Festival of Harvest to honor the LORD your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him… for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work.”

** This BEE-autiful video is from Alive and Well in Kansas.  And if you haven’t checked out her blog, please do!  (GREAT instagram feed also, just in case you wonder where your food comes from!)

Deuteronomy 16:10,15  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

“Combining” us together (excuse me, couldn’t help it…)

This is a combine:

harvest-1523791_1920

This is a header:

combine-harvester-1611203_1920

Actually, that’s only one kind of header; different headers are needed for different jobs.  It’s a far cry from the old back-breaking scythe of past centuries.  Not that modern farming is a walk in the park, since I’m talking about the folks that put in 14-16 hour days to put bread on our tables. 

My friend (who farms) told me recently of a little 2-year-old boy whose mom (another farming family) picked up a toy combine at a garage sale.  Obviously, it was used, and was missing the header, but the boy was so young, mom didn’t think this would be a problem.  Kids that age have great imaginations anyway, right?

Until she gave it to her son, and he remarked, “Where’s the header?  How do you expect me to get any work done without the header?!?”

In my defense, I’m from the ‘burbs, and my milk and bread came from the grocery store.  So evidently, a combine is not as effective (like, at all?) without its header.  Missing pieces in farming equipment mean no more bread on my table, and imaginary bread doesn’t fill the stomach very well.

All this brings to my mind what the Apostle Paul talks about when he compares the Body of Christ to an actual human body.  It’s that crucial idea that we need each other to be fully productive.  If the hand says to the foot “I don’t need you”, then the hand probably isn’t going anywhere!  Finally, Paul makes this simple but essential conclusion:

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

That word, together, is highlighted in my brain.  Even if I’m just a little screw that helps hold the header in place, when I take my part away, (perhaps due to offense, neglect of my health, complacency, whatever), the harvest is at risk.  Of course, this also applies to those around me, the one in the next pew whose part seems dirty and squeaky and maybe even a little rusty.  I need—no, I am accountable, to allow the Lord of the Harvest to put my piece in place with all the other pieces.

So we can get some actual work done, without just pretending.  Even a two-year-old could tell the difference.

1 Corinthians 12:27  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Just throw it out there

garden lastIt’s March—woo-hoo!!  Know what that means here in the lower part of the Midwest??  Okay, yeah, tornadoes…but besides that?  IT’S PLANTING SEASON!!  Bring out the seeds and point me to the dirt!  (Bob, honey, if you’re reading this, go ahead and just TRY to keep me away from the Walmart garden section…!)

I have some good friends who are professional farmers.  The term, “professional farmer”, distinguishes them from gardeners, even Master Gardeners (which, as Bob will tell you, I am not.)  Master Gardeners have it all together, but farmers, that’s a whole different category.  We’re talking equipment that costs more than my house and car put together. Unfortunately, last harvest season our friends’ combine had an oil leak and caught fire…. 

Yeesh!  Before it got this far, one of the guys was crawling through the machine trying to salvage some of the expensive equipment, like the GPS they use to know where to plant the seeds.  Thankfully, there were no casualties, except the siding on the house nearby that melted, and the bank accounts of those involved. 

Once again, farmers just amaze me, and have my upmost respect.  Of course, in Jesus’ day, they didn’t have the fancy tech like my friends have today that helps feed the world. Planting was done much differently, and Jesus seemed to think it an apt metaphor for spreading His very good news:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.  As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.  Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.  But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.  Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.  Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!  Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

At first glance, this seems quite wasteful—even I know how be a little more careful in my planting (not much, mind you, but a little.)  And yet, Jesus likens this to teaching us to become “fishers of men”.  Huh?

Here’s the point.  Among my other temptations to not “sow” His good news is my own hidden selfish (and yes, even bigoted in some ways) perspective/bias/expectations that just out right get in the way.  Here are some of things the Enemy might whisper in my ear:

  • Don’t waste your breath.
  • They already hate your guts so why would they listen?
  • They’re too far gone. (This can be applied in a variety of ways, BTW.)
  • I’m too far gone. (This one can also be applied in a variety of ways, particularly after working all day.)

Here’s what I seem to hear my Lord saying: Sow liberally, knowing that some of it will fall on unfruitful and even hostile ground.  Sow anyway.  Making the determination of what the soil of someone’s heart is like is not up to me. That’s in the Holy Spirit’s job description. 

When it comes to planting the Gospel, He alone is God’s heavenly GPS.

kevin

Matthew 13:3-9  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved

The Wisdom of Harvestores

wood 2I love the story of Joseph, of Technicolor coat fame.  He’s also the one that had the bright idea to build large storehouses to put up the grain for the seven bumper-crop years and then portion it out during the famine (also of seven years.)  And Joseph was in charge of the storehouses, which made him a powerful entity, but without this plan the people would have been goners. 

So it turned out to be a pretty good plan.

Here in the rural Midwest, storehouses are also used.  And you don’t TOUCH the grain until the farmer says it’s time.  Only he wields the authority as to when the grain is supposed to come out and how much and for what use.  One does not question the wisdom of the farmer. 

But, spiritually speaking, I still have this bent in Continue reading “The Wisdom of Harvestores”

Don’t bother washing the hat

garden last

This spring I put in a new garden.  I’ve already blogged somewhere about it, so I’ll spare the details, but to say it’s back-breaking work (fine, I’ll admit it—especially for this aging back) is without question.  I’ve done it, however, with the hopeful expectation of an improved harvest. 

If I’ve learned one thing living in America’s Heartland, it’s that farmers are possibly some of THE hardest working individuals on kevinthe planet.  Their hands are not soft, and the ball caps on their heads are not nice and clean.  During harvest, they work dawn to dusk (sometimes beyond that), and it takes not only Continue reading “Don’t bother washing the hat”

#Hat or #Badge?

kevin

Still with me on the “pouring-out-that-with-which-you-sustain-your-own-life-to-feed-the-hungry” thing from a few blogs ago?  Good.  Got another thought.  I’d say one more thought, but that would be risky.  Anyway, here goes…

Once we are able to tap into that internal flow of life to pour out to others (the “what”), once we correctly recognize our congregation, hidden or otherwise (the “who”), it can become r-e-a-l-l-y easy to wrap ourselves in that as our identity.  Here’s one way of looking at it:

I reside in farming country and I love it.  I mean… I LOVE it.  Our little house is in the middle of town, and I can ride my bike less than ten minutes to be with the cows.  Here where I live, men wear hats for a reason, not necessarily for style.  A John Deere cap isn’t something meant to be pretty, but sweaty and dirty, because it’s been on the farmer’s head in 90+degree heat with equal humidity for 12-16 hours getting the corn or milo out.  Of course, they’re not the only ones that wear hats for practical reasons.  The surgeon’s cap can get somewhat wet about halfway through heart surgery…on a child.  The constructor worker’s hardhat has a definite purpose also, as does my bicycle helmet (also sweaty at times), as does the military helmet of the 20-year-old defending my country overseas.   The point is that, foremost, a hat is meant to be functional .  It speaks of what we DO.  We talk about someone who “wears a lot of different hats”, who does lots of things in various areas of utility.  Not only are hats for getting dirty in the line of work, we can change hats (functions and jobs, even throughout the day) without really changing ourselves.

Now a badge, on the other hand, speaks of who we ARE.  A badge is meant to identify us to others.  The badge I wear at work has not only my name written on it, but my position (nurse) and which buildings I am allowed to be in at my school system.  There is authority that goes with it, I might add.  Same with my American passport, and the sheriff’s badge even more so.  The challenge with badges is that they need to be kept clean, or polished, or otherwise protected.  Same with our identity.  Once it gets stolen, lost, or trashed, we’re in a world of hurt.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but the truth of the matter remains: I’d better make sure my identity is secure in something (Someone) that can’t get trashed or lost or stolen from me.  What I can pour out to others of myself may change as time marches relentlessly onward, but with my true identity in my Creator, I can be secure while He’s busy rearranging my hat collection for me.

Thanks again for reading….dawnlizjones

#johndeere #badge #wearingdifferenthats #farming