Farming and faith closely resemble each other

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Not too long ago, as I was driving past the rich fields Southeast of Atlanta, the cotton stood tall as the balls poofed out under the green leaves. The corn was in harvest. Corn cutters were whirling, dust flying everywhere. It was harvest time and the workers were out there.

As you pass from one field to the other, you could see groups of men and machinery making early morning preparations to begin the harvest for the day as soon as the dew dries off the produce. Instead of staying in the bed until 10:00 a.m. and wasting the morning, they used the time to grease the machinery, fuel up what needed to be fueled and repair what was broken from the day before.

Harvest time is always a delightful time to me. I love watching the farmers move from one group of rows to another harvesting their crops. You see them empty the corn out of the huge hoppers aboard the picker into another hopper pulled beside it by a tractor. The tractor then pulls the vat of corn over to the transport trucks, it is offloaded and away it goes.

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When it is time to pick cotton, I get even more excited. I know that stuff is expensive. They now have a machine that tramps the cotton down, which used to be done by the older children. Then they can form it up and stack it in a huge, compacted stack at the end of the field until it is time to take it to the gin and process it. Stack after stack lines the side of the road. I can never see it without thinking how much money that is going to bring the farmer. Harvest time is exciting, but there is a lot that goes into that field before you see the harvest. We love the harvest… it is all that other stuff that we do not like.

Early in the Spring the farmers will make the ground ready for the crop. They will plow, break the hard pan if necessary, make up the rows, make drains so the crops will not get too much water in the Spring, and then plant. Once the planting is done, they do all kind of things. They set out bug traps to see what kind of pests they are dealing with. They fertilize and cultivate. Later in the year, they irrigate. I’ve passed some of these farms to see lights hung at night so that men could work on a pump or some piece of equipment.

Yes, the harvest is grand and exciting, but there is a heap of work that is done by every hand on the place before there is ever a harvest.

In the church, we love the harvest, too! But, all too often, we are not willing to spend the time preparing the soil, planting, cultivating, fertilizing and doing all the things necessary to produce a crop. We like to criticize when we do not find a crop, but somehow run and hide when it comes time to plow.

You have a great opportunity to watch the farmers in our area. But, when you do, make sure you look all the way back on the calendar and see what went into that load of cotton, tobacco, beans or corn. Take that thought with you and see if somehow it applies to the work in your church.

If we will plow, plant and water… God will give the increase.

God Bless and GOOOO DAWGS,

-Rev. Murphy is the Pastor at the First Christian Church of Demopolis. The church website is