Growing Pains

So God Made a Farmer

Today is National Agriculture Day.

It’s a good time to celebrate Ag Day. Calving and lambing is underway and planting will soon begin.

I’ve been focusing on all things farming as I write a series of books set in the farmlands of the Midwest. One thing I’ve noticed in my research is that farming is often a family enterprise. In fact, 97% of farms in the United States are family farms. Some of these farms have been in the family for generations and often, more than one generation works on the farm at the same time.

The harvest truly is plentiful,
but the laborers are few.
 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest
to send out laborers into His harvest.
(Matt 9:37b-38)

I enjoy writing about farming and agriculture more than I would enjoy actually farming, if we’re being honest. I like food, but I’m not always a fan of the early mornings and long days that it takes in order to plant and harvest the food or raise and butcher it.

It is hard work. Hard. Work.

Oh, if only Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned!

The World’s Oldest Profession

It’s weird to think of Adam as a farmer. Maybe because we usually look at work as a result of the fall. Adam, however, was put in the garden to steward it. Imagine that gig. You’re living in a perfect environment and there is no death. The conditions for life growth couldn’t not have been better.

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. — Genesis 1:28 – 30

God is basically telling them, “Eat food. Have babies.”

And that’s the God we serve. The God of life and pleasure. We sometimes think He’s a kill-joy, but that’s because our sinful natures have conditioned us to think of the world’s fleeting pleasures as more exciting than the abundant life that God provides. We’re called to more than mere stagnant existence. We are called to live, grow, and reproduce. (In fact, scientists list “reproduction” as one of the characteristics of an entity being alive.)

God commanded Adam and Eve to multiply themselves physically. Jesus commanded His disciples to reproduce spiritually and make more disciples. We were designed to be fruitful.

Then Adam sinned.

Labor Daze

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” — Genesis 2:7-9, 15-17

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they did not physically die just then. Nor would they stop being fruitful, but what should have once been easy, painless, and glorious became toil, drudgery, and agony.

To the Man:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread...” — Genesis 3:17-19

To the Woman:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children…” — Genesis 3:16

Each curse affected men and women at their most primary role in bringing forth and sustaining life.

And yet…

Eat, Drink, and Be Married

Humans are still driven to eat food and have babies. To eat. To live. To love.

With each new harvest or each new baby, we are encouraged that God is still a God of life. By His grace the rains still come down to water the seed (Gen 8:22). He still opens the womb (Ps 139:13) and opens hearts (Ez. 36:26).

No curse can overshadow God’s blessing. Death did not conquer the Life.

Praise the Lord.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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