James 5:7: "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."
I really enjoyed breakfast this morning. I ate yesterday and will very likely eat tomorrow. In my younger years, I planted a garden and because of it, I enjoyed a few tomatoes and sweet potatoes, but it was mainly for the reward of seeing it grow, not to prevent starvation.
I fully well realize if it were not for the American technologists we call farmers, we would all realize a new level of desperation. Yes, I also know the truckers and implement designers, engineers and mechanics play a big part in the food chain, but the farmers are the very key to survival on this planet.
The U.S. farming industry contributes more than $100 billion to the U.S. economy. Agriculture supplied $1.053 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2017.
While there are more than 2 million farms across the U.S., farmers and ranchers make up just 1.3% of the labor force. This totals 2.6 million people. In 1840, agriculture made up 70% of the work force. This is a testimony in itself of the increase in productivity of the American farmer.
Luke 9:62: "And Jesus said unto him, 'No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'" Farmers never look back, always to the future. We have all seen some very bad (crop) years. I would be going out of my mind with worry but the farmers always look to a better year to come. They are back in the fields in the spring planting, fertilizing and being good stewards of God's planet. Ecclesiastes 11:4: "He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap."
Respect and admiration take on a completely new dimension here. I was a teacher and like to think, possibly, I made a positive impact on at least one life. Without farmers we would not exist, and there is no room for argument here. Their impact on us is perpetual.
I recently mentioned in a sermon, "Faith is a very important factor in ways other than religion. Every bite of food we put in our mouths is based on faith." We not only trust farmers to not poison us today, we trust them to safely feed us next week and next year.
I often mention in articles and sermons some of the things my dad taught me. I will never forget him saying, "A farmer has to be a scientist, a mechanic, a businessman, a weatherman, and many other professions, all in one person." Over the years, I've realized how true this is. He not only practices all those professions, he loves the Lord and trusts Him completely. How could any man plant a crop without infinite faith in God?
Today, the average American farmer produces food for 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed only 26 people. Today's farmer grows twice as much food as the last generation and uses less land, energy, water and produces fewer emissions. Wheat farmers receive a meager 12 cents of a loaf of bread that retails for $3.49. And dairy producers receive only $1.34 from a $4.49 gallon of milk.
Harry Truman once said, "Prosperous farmers make for a prosperous nation, and when farmers are in trouble, the nation is in trouble."
George Washington said, "Agriculture is the most healthful, the most useful and the most noble employment of man." Even when he made that statement more than 200 years ago, he was not hungry and he fully realized that was because of a farmer.
I well remember nearly 60 years ago, hauling hay after midnight to beat a rain. I've seen many times farmers in the field plowing or planting late at night. Sleep, what's that?
Isaiah 2: 4: "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." It's really interesting, the Bible indicates, even after the last war, the farmer will still be around. Farmers are survivors.
It is noticeable that farm raised youth have high work ethics. I did not live on a farm growing up in a small western Kentucky town, but I worked on a farm at times. Hay hauling, working in tobacco and shoveling out a few barns should be on my resume. I've never known a farmer that was afraid to get his hands dirty, grab a shovel or any other tool and get "the job" done.
Leviticus 19:9-10: "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God." I've never known a selfish farmer. I well remember when a local farmer near my hometown was involved in an accident just before harvest time. Several of the other farmers went to his fields with their combines and gathered his crop before their own.
Admiration of their sharing, respect, kindness and consideration is fully due to farmers. The only negative thing I can say about farmers is their addiction to hard work and annoying persistence.
May God greatly bless ye tillers of the land.