Thoughts of a Missouri Farmer
I want to begin by saying I am not a really a farmer, not even a wannabe farmer. At most I am a hobby farmer. But owning 80 acres of farmland, a dog, some goats and a few chickens, gives me some idea of what it is like to be a farmer. I say some idea because in my feeble attempts at farming I have discovered that farmers are not farmers because they don’t have enough brains to do anything else. Farming is a highly technical trade that requires tons of knowledge, lots of self-discipline, an extra dose of creativity, and above average adaptability.
We had a bunch of rain today and when it rains a bunch here in Missouri the rivers rise and cause a lot of problems. Thankfully we do not live near a river. Nonetheless, when it rains 12 inches in 24 hours, even if you live on high ground it can cause a problem or two. In order to direct the streams of water away from the uphill side of our house I dug a shallow trench. As I dug I hit not only the famous Missouri rocks but also the marvelous clay. I pondered how it must have been a hundred and fifty years ago when settlers came to this area. These rocks I dealing with would have been in the way of the Missouri settler’s plow. The clay that was sticking to my shovel so much that I had to find something solid to hit my shovel on to get the clay to come off would have stuck to the Missouri settler’s plow. Surely my insignificant hardships with the rocks and clay would have been multiplied for the original Missouri farmer to the point of cursing and tears. It is not for nothing that Missouri has been given the name Misery!
Well, as I was digging, and as the rain was pouring down on my wool felt hat, I thought about these things and felt grateful for those who had come before me, who cleared the land, who put in the roads, and even those who built my house. This in turn led me to think of how the Kingdom of God is a generational kingdom in which those who have gone before us have done much pioneering; we benefit from the progress they have made; we, so to speak, stand on their shoulders. My thinking went further as I pondered the future.
I am a postmillennialist! This means I believe the Kingdom of God will progress until the nations are very substantially Christianized. Yes, there will remain unsaved people. But the majority of the world’s population will be Christian (after all, this world is a wheat field, not a tare field ). I believe Paul was a postmillennialist too! His encouragement to the Corinthians, “Your labor is not in vain in the Lord” meant more than treasures stored up in heaven for faithful labors performed. It means also that their labors would have generational effect. As a grain of wheat falling into the earth brings forth a new generation of wheat which generation after generation and is multiplied until that grain of wheat becomes tens of thousands of fields and millions of bushels, so also our faithful labors. This can be seen for instance in the life of Andrew Fuller who became the catalyst for the modern missionary movement. By the eye of faith I see the faithful Christian labors of this generation multiplying down through the coming generations until – “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea!” On the other hand I also hear what this same prophet says of the labors of those who do not serve the Lord – “Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the peoples labor to feed the fire, and nations weary themselves in vain?
by Eugene Clingman
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Tags: Andrew Fuller, eugene clingman, Ezekiel 47:11; Matthew 13:24-30; 1 Corinthians 15:58; H, granola, granola delights, hobby farmer, kingdom of god, Missouri Farmer, Missouri settler, nations Christianized, peoples labor to feed the fire, postmillennialist