The writings of one of my favorite authors, A.W. Tozer, challenge Christians to truly consider God. If done in honesty and with integrity, it will dramatically change one’s life. I have found Tozer’s words to be true.
Though I love his works, they often reveal shortcomings in my part of my relationship with God. However, there is a wonderful quote lifted from the pages of his book, The Pursuit of God, which has real application to agriculture.
Tozer wrote, “Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.”
If I even casually read that quote, I realize that “every work” includes all our living actions, and that must include our agriculture (regardless of scale). So, I see two important teachings in Tozer’s short quote. One, that even my chores are opportunities to worship and minister to God. Two, I can trust that God will discover Himself to me through my chores, projects and farm tasks.
I have a bad habit of assigning more value to large things than to small ones. I usually find it easier for me to think about God when a doe is kidding than when I pile up some hay with a fork. But, as Tozer points out, I can minister to God in the “simple deeds.” The actions I do on our farm and in our home are opportunities to worship God through the very action itself.
Though I am not offering God a sacrifice of a lamb or an ox as the Hebrew priests did, my actions on the farm can be just as worshipful.
Now, I will not approach pruning apple trees as an item on a checklist of chores. Rather, I know this can be an act in which I can thank Him for His provision and learn from His design of creation. Through pruning I can minister to God and celebrate His wisdom and work alongside Him to foster fertility.
There also is an awesome responsibility in this, too. As a farmer, if I know I am playing in God’s designed creation, I dare not demean it. I cannot treat any part of it as common, which is to profane it. Therefore, it is incumbent upon me to treat His creation with reverence (not worship), especially through my actions as a farmer.
‘Finding Him there’
An amazing truth that Tozer points out is that I can be confronted by God even when I am turning my compost pile or mowing the ditch along the road. This is what he means by God being “in” our actions. I may let the busyness of life cloud my mind and make it more difficult to find God in the “simple deeds,” but He is there waiting for us to engage in “sweet and mysterious mingling.”
Creation points to God, so it should not surprise me to find His design in soil, to wonder in livestock physiology and discover inspiration in the hydrologic cycle. My chores often reveal divine truths that I would not otherwise have reinforced to me in quite the same way.
When a sheep farmer moves electric netting to give animals a new patch of pasture to graze, God can be found there because the chore itself is based on principles of land management that are designed to mimic His creation. The sheep farmer found God right there and honored Him in the practice.
Together with Him
When we find God in our ministrations to Him through our chores, it is joy available to us as believers because we are experiencing a taste of the life for which we were created. Or, to let Tozer say it better:
God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we as well as He can in divine communion enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile.
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