Having the Faith of a Farmer
Reflecting on the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost: Three Days after Sunday (Year C)
Psalter: Psalm 142
Old Testament: Habakkuk 3:17-19
Gospel: Luke 19:11-27
Psalter: Psalm 50
Old Testament: Amos 5:12-24
Gospel: Luke 19:11-27
Hear our prayers, God of power, and through the ministry of your Son free us from the grip of the tomb, that we may desire you as the fullness of life and proclaim your saving deeds to all the world. Amen.
Though the fig tree does not blossom
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer
and makes me tread upon the heights (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
All of us live by faith in something or someone, even those who are not particularly religious. We have faith that our family will support us in difficult times, young children trust that their parents will protect them and give them aid when they skin their knees. Even when we drive, we have faith (though with some caution) that others on the road will drive carefully. Every day we live by faith in some regard.
When I was a young pastor, a farmer in the little congregation I served in rural Ohio said to me one day that he believed farmers were a good example of what it meant to live by faith. Even with modern methods of agriculture, farmers still depend on sufficient amounts of rain, enough warmth and sunshine, fertile fields, and they pray for no catastrophic weather events like hail and early frost to destroy vibrant crops.
I’ve thought about his words of wisdom through the years. I wonder if Jesus reflected something of that perspective in is use of agrarian life in many of his parables. It may have just been his world and nothing more, but farmers are indeed a good example of faith. Year to year they trust in forces beyond their control for a good harvest.
Habakkuk states in faith that even if there are no figs, olives, or grapes the prophet will still rejoice in the Lord. Habakkuk is not dismissive of the travesty of no harvest, but he is also knows that he can trust in the God who gives the rain and the sunshine and makes the harvest possible.
I remember another church member in a different congregation some years later who received a cancer diagnosis. The long term prognosis was not good. Every time I visited him and his wife, there was never a time when he failed to say to me that they were trusting in God for the future. Even though cancer may win the battle, he trusted in Jesus to secure his victory.
Are we able to say like Habakkuk, like that old farmer, and like my friend with cancer that come what may we will trust in God for our future? God never promises to keep us from harm and difficult times, but he does assure us that the divine presence will always be with us.
Like Habakkuk can we say today and every day “God, the Lord, is my strength?”
PRAYER: Move us to praise your gracious will, for in Christ Jesus you have saved us from the deeds of death and opened for us the hidden ways of your love. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Check out my podcast “Faith Seeking Understanding,” here.