Some weeks ago my husband and I attended the farm sale of a family member. It was not our intention to purchase but to be part of a larger support system. The entire sale process and the events that transpired on that day brought forth much emotion. What brings about such a sale for families? Is it due to a personal loss, a professional change, an economic shift, or the happy move of a couple to retirement?
This particular sale was brought about by the death of our brother-in-law last fall. The day and the people who attended gave me reason to reflect on the life and passion of a farmer and what this person brought to the lives of so many.
It was a lovely day, perfect temperatures with a gentle breeze rustling the cornfield that stood near the homestead. Many folks were milling about looking at the “for auction” inventory big and small. I saw many men in caps that advertised an agricultural product. I wondered what their intent was. Was it to purchase, to remember the farmer and the man, or honor the stewardship of the land so well tended?
Although it was the intent of the family and auction company to dispose of the items of a farming operation, I’d like to remember the generations who tended the soil. This was a many generation family farming operation and some of the equipment reflected that past and the hard work of the tiller-the sower-the harvester. I touched that dry crumbly earth and thought of the many mouths one farmer feeds. A farmer really does feed the world with care and stewardship of all that God has entrusted to him. A farmer does so with such humility within his or her personality. This gift from God to a farmer is one a city girl cannot explain.
I honor the farmer of days past and the legacy they have left for others to carry forward. Remembering all that comes to each of us is a gift from God and we have been entrusted with its stewardship. This man loved the earth as so many do and fed the world as so many have and will for the future. I’m certain that my farmer left this earth better than he received it. Will we honor such a legacy with our own practices?
[Editior’s note: check out the free resource Caring for the Earth as God’s People.]
Syd Brinkman, of Allison, Iowa, is serving a second term on the churchwide executive board.
Photo by Erin Schnormeier. Used with permission.