Faithfully Farming My Forty Acres

After our family vacation in the Western Wilds of North America, we drove through the Heartland to get back to Ohio. Through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana… The fields of corn and soy seemed impossibly green, after our time in those more arid areas on the other side of the Rockies. And the fields prompted — and provided space for — a lot of thinking. Particularly about things I felt God had been stirring in my heart throughout the summer. Specifically, I kept mentally repeating a phrase that appeared in my reflections about the 10-year anniversary of our family’s move to Kent. A phrase that I hope will define the next season of my life: Faithfully Farming my Forty Acres.

To me, “Faithfully Farming my Forty Acres” means soberly and sincerely serving as a pastor, or shepherd, for the congregation in which I’ve been placed in Kent. Not trying to single-handedly save the world (because Jesus already did that). Not aggressively expanding to adjacent territory. And definitely not trying to seek fame or fortune for myself in the process. “Faithfully Farming my Forty Acres” speaks to consistency, season after season, year after year. Cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in my life, and in the lives of students at Kent State University. Sustaining our own operations and sending out surplus crops to market, as we’re able.

Forty acres is a decent-sized piece of land (twenty soccer fields is the most mentally-accessible equivalent to me). Even so, in agricultural terms, forty acres is not considered a big farm. It’s more of an old-school “family farm” than an example of “Agribusiness.” I think of it like a piece of land that’s been in the family for generations. And we’re just plodding away, year after year, cooperating with the earth’s natural processes to produce the most basic necessities.

Faithfully Farming my Forty Acres is not fancy stuff. But it’s good, honest work. So, after a lot of reflection this summer (and on the drive back to Ohio), I feel freshly envisioned and invigorated to put my back into it. To intentionally limit my focus to the fields in front of me, and to till that soil… fertilize those fields… harvest the crops in season… and let the land rest… repeating the cycle with each successive year.

Our culture emphasizes “genius” or “virtuoso” performance. You’re supposed to “build your brand” or “make your mark” or “reach for the stars” or whatever. However, embracing the opportunity for “Faithfully Farming my Forty Acres” is a deliberate pivot. They won’t make movies or write songs about me or my church. We won’t ever make the evening news or the cover of magazines. But we will walk closely with God. We will cooperate with His work in our lives and in the redemptive work around us. And we will, Lord willing, keep farming for many years to come.

This entry was posted in Church, Family, God, H2O Kent, Health, Home, Introspection, Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Small Groups and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.