Whenever I see a tractor with a cab on it, for warmth and protection from the weather, I wish that my Dad could have experienced that! From a team of horses to an A-Farmall tractor, he never had protection from the elements.
That didn't stop him though and he became one of the best dry-land farmers (we missed irrigation by 1 mile!) in Jackson County in Southwestern Oklahoma.
So, on this this Fathers' Day 2005, I want to pay my respects to a Farmer's Faith and hope that it will help you build faith for your life.
Mom and Dad married at 19 years of age and set up their home on 80 acres that was homesteaded by my Dad's Father, who came there in 1887. Mom and Dad had 4 sons: born in 1924, 1928, 1932 and 1935 and a daughter who died at birth. Mom became a Christian at an early age and Dad was saved and baptized at age 21, so we had a
Christian home and the church was a big part of our lives.
More on this later, but now let's examine 'life on a farm' and the faith lessons that were learned by all 4 sons.....2 were Christian businessmen and 2 became preachers. All 15 grandchildren are committed Christians, for which we praise God.....and Mom and Dad.
The following statements on Faith represent my Mom and Dad.....I hope that you can learn from these:
1) THE FAITH-LIFE RESTS ON AN EXPERIENCE OF COMPLETE TRUST AND FOLLOWS THE BEST EXAMPLE....JESUS!
'We reap if we faint not' (Galatians 6:9)
My folks lived this kind of 'faith-rest' life of absolute trust, resulting in obedience to the will of God, no matter what!
2) THE FAITH LIFE ALWAYS SEES SOME HOPE!
Dad bought the adjoining 80 acres in 1924 and finished paying for it 20 years later. God working through their faith, the Federal Land Bank and persistent faithfulness accomplished this. This kind of faith receives....and gives...all that God asks.
3) THE FAITH LIFE ALWAYS SEES ETERNITY IN LIFE.
Their example at home was great, but they realized that the home AND the church were necessary partners in rearing for eternity. We were faithful to church and I can still hear Dad's bass voice and Mom's alto voice as we sang hymns.
Dad served on the nominating committee and when they asked for his input on 'the most important thing for workers in church', he replied, "Ask them, how much do you love Jesus?"
His favorite song was 'Face to Face With Christ My Savior'. This he did in life....and in death.
He saw this as God's World and he was always grateful for the sandy-loam dirt farm which he inherited. It weathered the droughts (there were many!) well.
He truly felt that he was a partner with God, but he always knew 'who' was boss!
4) THE FAITH LIFE IS LIVING LIFE UNDER THE CONTROL OF GOD!
It is not an automatic means to 'bind' God to our whims, but is centered in submission to the Will of God.
Dad was called to be a farmer and Mom felt called to be a Christian homemaker, as much as I was called to preach.
They knew that the battle was the Lord's (II Chronicles 20:15) and we walk by faith and not by sight (II Corin. 5:7).
The drought of 1936 (only 3 bales of cotton on 70 acres) was followed by a great alfalfa seed crop in 1937. (That good crop allowed us to take our first real vacation).
Many times, I'm sure that 'doubt and fear' knocked at our door, but Faith answered and they were gone.
Dad truly believed 'we will reap, if we faint not' (Gal.6:9)
5) THE FAITH LIFE IS BEING GOOD STEWARDS OF GOD'S GIFTS TO US.
Dad received the 80 acres from God through his parents and took great care of it. When he plowed the cotton and turned at the end of the rows, he would make sure that there was no Bermuda nor Johnson grass on the plows.
He knew that those would ruin the value of God's gifts to him. In other words, he took care of God's inheritance....and so should we.
He also used the wisdom of God to diversify cotton and other crops with alfalfa, which enriched the soil. When Dad died, he left the farm in better shape than when he received it! Please apply this to whatever is YOUR inheritance from God and be faithful stewards and servants. Dad was God's caretaker and he took it seriously....and so should we.
SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS ABOUT MY DAD:
1) Dad loved and lived life with great enthusiasm! I never knew anyone who exceeded Dad's joy at Harvestime! He attended regularly the ball games and other activities of us 4 sons. He not only attended them, but was well known throughout the county for his 'vocal support' during the games!
I like Colossians 3:23: 'Whether you eat or drink...or whatever you do....do all for the glory of God'.
2) That saying 'the best thing a Dad can do for his children, is to love their mother' was evident every day of our lives, as Dad was very open about his love for my Mom. That same type of love was given freely to us 4 sons as Dad gave us bear hugs (and kisses on the lips, which was quite a scene for a 6'1" guy who weighed 220 lbs)
Dad had a friend in school who was not able to pronounce the letter 'L' and would say, "I like my woman with a little bit of fresh (flesh) on her". Many times we heard Dad say that to our Mom, as he hugged her.
3) My Dad's favorite expression was "It's great to be alive!".
His favorite poem was:
"If a task is once begun, never leave it 'til it's done
Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all!"
Dad died in 1968 at 62 yrs. of age, but outlived all of his brothers except one. Mom lived on until 1990 and died at 85 yrs. of age. They would have been 100 years of age this year.
They are now enjoying Heaven and we are all thankful for the many ways in which they made a 'Heaven on Earth' for us.
Being farmers, my parents did not have much of this world's goods, but they believed the following:
"I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life....God gave me life that I might enjoy all things"....and that they did!!
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