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Friday, April 27, 2007

Lime Valley Covered Bridge

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"The Hardworking Farmer"

"The hardworking farmer" (2 Timothy 2:6a).

Living in a farming area we see the farmers buzzing all around us with huge tractors tilling the soil and planting. Yesterday all throughout the day a tractor hauling a humongous manure spreader ran up and down our road.  We also drive by farms where the Amish still work the fields with horse teams.  We have a neighbor who farms the old-fashioned way and it's a very interesting sight.  One thing is for sure; regardless of the equipment, farmers work very hard!

Ester and her PaPaI recall from my childhood when my mom's cousin, a farmer in southern Missouri, would drop by to visit. He wore bib overalls which was very common for farmers to wear at that time.  Brooksyne's dad also wore them after he retired from trucking. I found this photo of him sharing a lollipop with Ester when she was about 9 years old.

Galen MartinGalen is a farmer friend in my church and I often greet him by quoting the daily verse. In this portion of Scripture Paul uses three vocations to illustrate the need for diligence in Christian service: the soldier, the athlete and the farmer.  
The Bible uses timeless illustrations that span all cultures. After all, we still have soldiers, athletes, and farmers. Virtually anywhere the Bible is read listeners can identify, although living in the midst of a farming area makes the third example particularly relevant to me. One of the first sermons I ever preached was based on this passage.

As I was studying for this encouragement I used the online Bible Gateway and found it interesting the way a paraphrase introduces this passage. "So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ."  I like that descriptive phrase for zealous service.  Today, like a hardworking farmer let us diligently serve the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, help us to apply ourselves diligently and enthusiastically to the work You've called us to do.  In the midst of the frustrations that accompany our work may we remember that our work is ultimately and most importantly an act of obedience to You.  Thank You for the earthly rewards that come from our physical labors and for the rewards we receive from You for the good that we do.  Amen.

PS: I saw a sign along a rural farm road that caught my attention and its message brought a chuckle:  "Don't criticize the farmer with your mouth full."  My word of encouragement to you today is to thank God for all who are expressing obedience to God by engaging in productive work that benefits society.  This morning I also want to thank all of you who in one way or another are working hard and producing a beneficial product or providing a wholesome service.  And before you judge or criticize anyone (particularly farmers) consider the contribution they are making to your life!

As I prepare today's message there's a great analogy in a song I have been blessed by titled "Field of Souls" from a CD by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, The song was written by Wayne Watson although this sample clip is by Wayne Watson. Although I was only able to find two short sample clips of this song it's enough to remind us of our different roles in spreading God's message!
Audio clip #1

Audio clip #2
We work the field of souls, together you and I.
Some fields are blooming now, other fields are dry.
We are not the same, but differences aside,
We will work the fields, together you and I.

One is off to foreign soil to work a distant land,
Another anchors close to home to hold a neighbor's hand.
Who has served the Father most and who has labored best?
That life devoted to our God, that devotion will be blessed.

One shouts the gospel in the streets for everyone to hear.
He's bold to everyone he meets and the Word is loud and clear.
Another cries alone and prays in silence on her knees.
Before the throne from day to day where human eyes don't see.

I am working on a message based upon this interesting quote I came across.
"Truth is hate to those who hate the truth"

Some Farm Country Photos

Manure spreader

Amish team
I took this photo during harvest time last fall. The Amish will use a team to pull the machinery but a small engine to run the hay bailor.

Corn planter
Yesterday a field across the road from us was planted in corn. This planter can seed 12 rows at a time.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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