Life Directions: Part 2 - The Conscientious Farmer

Life Directions Part 2 The Conscientious Farmer

Last week, I talked about the direction from which you are looking: backward, forward or just down. This time, I want to address looking forward: the actual farming process. As I mentioned, life can be compared to a farm and each area is a unique field: finances, career, mental, spiritual, social, physical, and family. What you do in each field determines what you will harvest. As the old proverb goes "Everyone will reap what they sow."

How to sow and cultivate for the harvest.

There are several things to consider when tending your fields.
1) Have I chosen a good field and fertile soil? Is what I am planning to build in this area of my life, worthwhile, wholesome, stable, long lasting, fertile or is it rocky, unfertile, shallow or too soggy? Is this cultural driven or values driven? Have I even thought about it? In other words, will it have lasting value or harm? Too many times, we just pick any field and start planting before we have accessed if it is truly the best field.

2) How are you plowing? If you have ever watched a farmer plow a field, the first two-three rows are the most important ones. These rows set the course for which the farmer will follow for the rest of the plowing. If you are using a mule instead of a tractor, it is really difficult (that is your life circumstances are not as easy or favorable as someone else's). A mule wants to wander all over and doesn't know what a straight line is. So, to have an orderly fruitful, harvestable field, you need to focus hard and work hard to make your rows straight. Plowing rows is the discipline, habits, attitudes that you develop. Don't give up or capitulate because it is hard now. Once you get several straight rows in, it can become easier.

3) What are you sowing? Many people sow any seed they happen to find or what is given to them. There is no conscious effort to discern what seed is best. Whatever happens to be there, is what they sow. (Some people may not be able to discern because they have never established their own values.)This situation can make a field unproductive or one filled with weeds. For example: Are you sowing the seeds of debt because the credit card company and the government tells you to spend more since it is good for the economy or new things will make your life better? Are you eating more because someone asked you to "supersize" your meal and so you did? Are you just watching any TV program because you deserve to relax after a hard day? Do you avoid talking or spending time with your spouse or children because your boss tells you work is more important? Are you placing all your dreams on your financial condition because that is what everyone else is doing? Do you reply in anger because it is easier than practicing kindness or patience? Do you let your kids watch anything on TV or the Internet because it is too much effort to monitor? Do you ever tell your kids "No, we will not do another sport or that activity you so desire" or do you just give in so that you don"t have to argue? What attitude are you sowing?

4) Are you pulling the weeds out? A good farmer doesn't just plant and then wait until harvest to see what he or she grew. No, the farmer knows that weeds need to be pulled so that the good crop can grow most effectively. Weeds compete for soil nutrients, water and compete for root space. Do you ever examine your life and say "I need to change this habit or attitude" and then begin to do so? Do you let others influence you when you should focus on the good crop? What weeds do you need to start pulling? What is keeping you from starting today?

5) Are you watering or fertilizing your crops? A farmer knows that just planting and weeding is not the only two things that need to be done for the crop to grow. Good crops need water and fertilizer. What are you doing to build upon the good foundations of your life: books seminars, church, exercise, saving money, etc.? Are you working on a continuous improvement program or just hoping that the rain will fall and you will get a good crop? Are you letting your kids get away with things instead of telling them "No"? Do you require first time obedience or do you negotiate with your kids on everything? Are you watering your family life or just letting it get by? When was the last time: you and your wife got away to focus on your marriage? Took your kids to breakfast? Did something that would build a relationship?

Recently, I took my oldest daughter off for a three day weekend. We got to spend great time together, relax, listen, discuss and just enjoy each other. This gave us opportunity to sow good seed, water and even do a little weeding in our relationship. Another area that needed weeding was credit cards. Last year we began paying off debt and tossing the cards into the trash. What a feeling of freedom we now have!

In mid life or the latter stages of life, we will reap the harvest from the efforts we have given. Will you enjoy your harvest or be filled with pain and tears? The choice is yours and it must be made daily. Putting off making the right decisions is actually making the wrong decisions. Every decision you make, good or bad, is plowing a row in your field, sowing a seed or irrigating. These early decisions can be corrected but the longer you wait, the more difficult it is. Don't wait until it is too late, act now! Be careful and attentive that you give attention to all your fields (areas of your life). Some reap a wonderful harvest in one filed and leave desolation in another.


Faith

Isaiah 28:24 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?

Joel 1:11 Despair, you farmers, wail, you vine growers; grieve for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field is destroyed.

James 5:7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.

Proverbs 11:18 The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.

Ecclesiastes 11:6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Living life is hard work. The temptation is to just live to "get by." In our own strength, we may think we are doing well, but all the harvest will be judged by the Creator. Are you sowing seeds that will last? As in the Joel passage, is your harvest one that is long lasting, eternal or will it be quickly destroyed? Are you living your life according your Farmer's Almanac or the Creator's Almanac?
 

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