There is something very earthy about growing up on a farm. You experience things as a youngster that others do not. You learn a certain sense about events in life that inform you for the rest of your life. It is beyond the cold, frigid mornings when you pry open the barn door frozen to its latch and the cows and horses greet you with a “mooo” or a “whinnie.” It extends beyond the musty smell of hay mixed with the odors of the animals—maybe repulsive to some, but they become a sweet perfume of remembrance to those of us who loved the farm life. There are bonds that are never forgotten to times, places, people, even animals that you knew along the way. These are memories that flash through our minds of a time long ago.
The farm life is a microcosm of a lifetime packed into weeks rather than years. Life and death are interwoven into the daily fabric of farming. It is not only the crops that have new life in the spring and are harvested in the summer and fall. It is also the joy of a newborn calf, lamb, pig, puppy, or foal, and the solemn knowledge that they are part of our lives for far too short of a time. There are the sicknesses and the accidents that bring death into focus at a very young age. You don’t become hardened to it, but aware of it and how to handle these tragedies along the way. There are the simple joys like lying on your back in the fresh spring grass looking at the cumulus clouds in the blue sky and your dog comes up and lays down beside you, putting his paw in your hand.
Growing up on the farm, I learned to appreciate life at a very young age. One of the Biblical principles in play every day is reaping what you sow. It is true for the spectrum of life. Galatians 6:7, says “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap,” and verse 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” It applies to our personal lives as well. Proverbs 22:8: “He that sows iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.” There are no better examples of sowing and reaping than that found in farming. It is the cycle of life.
There is joy. There is sadness. There are times that you never want to end. There are moments that last way too long. There are things that are in your control, and you learn quickly how fast they can change. There are things that are out of your control, and you learn quickly that God is ultimately in charge—very few atheists in farming. If they say they are, they are fooling themselves. A farm lesson for all: You reap what you sow. Sow the best, give your best each day even in the face of disappointment and challenges. The prophet writes in Hosea 10:12, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Good advice for the times in which we live.