A BIG welcome to those of you joining me from the Encouragement Cafe...it's a pleasure to meet you there. I pray my devotional, "Wisdom for the Wait" spoke to your heart and encouraged you. I'm also asking God to use the following post to strengthen you as you live out your faith!
Farming...it's not just my husband's job, it's our way of life. It impacts our daily plans and will hopefully provide for our future endeavors. Farming requires work, but it teaches countless lessons. We learn about life, and faith, here in Iowa between the corn fields and cattle lots.
Recently, I've found myself grateful that we don't farm alone. We farm with Job's brother and his family. Together the 10 of us make up "Beran Brothers Farms". Job and Matt each have their own daily routines, but when busy seasons (which is most days) come they are there to help each other. The kids pitch in where they can and our oldest has added a dimension to the farm with a recent purchase of 26 pigs.
A couple of weeks back when we were planting corn I was grateful our families worked together...thoughts of Job doing it all on his own made me realize the season could be even busier than it already was. While Job did one job, Matt did another. If one guy wasn't sure how to fix something, the other one usually could.
I saw this strength in numbers philosophy as I watched my son and husband move pigs as well. They didn't just work together, but my husband shared wisdom with our boy. He used his experience and knowledge to teach our up and coming farmer. He offered instruction, assistance and encouragement.
As I thought about this, I felt the need to apply a similar strategy to my life as a Christian. Friend, we shouldn't do faith alone either. God is a God of relationship and we are created in His image...we were designed for them as well.
First and foremost, a relationship with our Heavenly Father is a must. Though we farm with my brother-in-law there are times Job is alone in the field, but if he needs help, he knows we're only a call away. The same and more is true of God...we can always reach Him with prayer and He has promised to always be with us. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, "The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you..."
We also need relationships with others....just like farmers, those walking in faith need one another. We don't want to walk this road alone. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity the one falls and has no one to help them up." Have you ever watched a young child learn to walk...they often fall down. The same thing happens to us as adults when life is hard and situations overwhelm. Spiritually, we can fall down and it's so important to have brothers and sisters who can help us up. When we labor together...be it thru prayer, service or relationship, God will bless our efforts.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Friend, we shouldn't walk through life and live our life alone because there is too much we can learn from others. And believe it or not there are ways God can use you to sharpen someone else. Experience is a great and powerful teacher, a needed one as well, but we don't have to learn everything from doing and by our own mistakes. This verse doesn't just refer to the things we do, the people we surround ourselves impact the way we act and choices we make as well. Spending time with other believers, especially those ahead of us in the journey, will help us grow in faith. For instance as my 13 year old son works alongside my husband, he is learning more than how to drive a tractor and feed cattle from his dad. He is seeing how a man works, watching a husband provide and care for his family and how a Christian relies on the Lord.
Along with this idea is one of my favorite passages - Titus 2:3-5, which says, "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanders or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God." Friend, Scripture tells us to train the younger women, which implies that the younger must learn from the older. And the truth is depending on the situation we fit both of these roles and this command can't be fulfilled if we are doing life alone. Ultimately it is about more than teaching/learning how to live; did you catch the end of verse 5? We are to do these things so that God's Word is not maligned. Friend, doing life together on the farm distributes the work load and decreases financial risk, but walking out our faith together blesses us and glorifies God.
We're preparing to plant our organic black beans and the other day my husband asked me to pray about the timing of all that. His request is another great reminder of why we shouldn't do faith alone. Friend, prayer is powerful. It's an opportunity to connect with our heavenly Father, praise our Creator and take our requests to God. Last week as I prepped to lead a study on perseverance I came across Colossians 1:9-12 and Paul shared a prayer I'd love someone to pray for me. I'm pausing now to pray it for you! I challenge you to do the same for someone in your life and then encourage you to make prayer part of your walk with others. Don't be afraid to share requests and be bold and lift others up. Friend, we need each other, but we need God even more...prayer helps meet that need.
Finally, one last piece of encouragement...just because we walk through life together doesn't mean we all need to do the same thing. Actually, it's best if we don't. For instance, my husband and his brother have different areas of expertise and they use those strengths to help each other. You and I as members of God's family must do the same. God has gifted each of us in unique ways, we all have roles to play in the kingdom of God. The more we work, live and serve together the stronger the body will be. Let's not just read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 let's apply it - "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body..."
I know it can be tempting to isolate ourselves and rely on our own strength...I've tried that a time or two and though it's possible, it's so much better when I'm walking together with others who love the Lord. Brothers and sisters keep me accountable, encourage me when I'm down, strengthen me when I'm weak and provide wisdom when I ask. When life is hard, they provide support; when grief overwhelms, their presence helps; when the road seems all uphill, their example inspires.
Life on the farm has its ups and downs, the work truly never ends and days can be long, but the same can also said about living a life of faith. It's not always easy, but when we walk together and give up trying to do it all alone, we will be better equipped and more encouraged. Things won't always go our way and rain will come, but together we'll have more fun! Just like my wet, muddy little rock pickers! I'm grateful YOU do life with me...I appreciate the time you take to join me here and share via comments, emails and Facebook posts - Thank You!