<![CDATA[Humans are living on a planet with ground that is cursed as a result of sin. This planet we call Earth, where the Creator placed us, will one day be consumed by fire and a new Heaven and Earth will be established. Until that time, redeemed Christians, especially farmers, have choices to make regarding how we live and farm in this creation. The choices we make can either be regenerative or degenerative in nature, few are ever truly neutral when it comes to God’s creation. This is especially true when we make choices about what we eat, wear, and produce. Life does include the physical body and how it operates in the physical world. God created the physical and spiritual and did so, in part, to allow us to enjoy living in this physical world while we worship the Father in spirit. In this living, the food we eat, the clothing we wear, the vehicles we drive, all have a chain of events and resources that brought those elements into our lives and then onward in how we use these things and then onward again with their culmination. These chains of events have an impact on our communities and creation at large. As farmers, we must not forget this. For example, the choices Christians make on what food to eat and where to buy it have significant ramifications to the God-created Earth. Was the manner in which the food was produced harmful in any way? Was it shipped long distances? These and other basic questions are ones Christians should be examining in their daily lives. And the Christian farmer should be very cognizant of others asking these questions, but more so concerned with the fact God is watching what we do with the farms (the soil, the habitat, the food web) He has provided us. Most people do not normally consider these spiritual choices, but as Christian farmers, we must not segment our lives. We must curate the understanding that all we do matters to God – even the small things. The Apostle Paul writing to the believers in Colossae explained this concept:
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” —Colossians 3:23-25As believers, we must not be tempted to try to compartmentalize our lives. There is no church life and then our farm operation. R.C. Sproul wrote about this very idea. “We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God.” I claim that this must include our agriculture. Consider those words carefully. The agriculture that Christians practice is done so on God’s canvas using His resources under His ownership and should be done so with the primary purpose to honor and glorify God. Consider that next time you fire up your tractor or grab your hoe. ]]>
It is hard to get people to see that everything has a spiritual aspect as well as that there is no neutrality which so many people want to say they are.
We both forget and repress the fact that all is done under God’s omniscient “eye” and nothing escapes His awareness, even our true motivations for what we do. Regarding agriculture — or our day job, for that matter — what we do has an impact on God’s creation. And as you say, there is “no neutrality” when it comes to that. Our choices are to make what we do have a positive impact in the context of trusting in God’s provision and the understanding of His gospel.
This message really strikes home with me. I grew up on a small dairy farm in ND. We still own a part of that land. My father firmly believed that “I don’t own this land. I am only a care-taker”. I am trying to follow in his footsteps and keep the land in good condition for my son. We intend to re-establish native grasses and wildflowers in at least one pasture and grow more forages and feed cattle rather than grow Round-up ready crops.
I’m really glad the message resonated with you, Alice. It’s good to hear you’re working in regenerative techniques in your operation. As Wendell Berry wrote, we have to be neighborly to ALL the members of our neighborhood, not just the human ones. Here are five principles when managing a landscape that I will share and you can take them however you want:
1 – Disturb the soil as little as possible (no tilling or cultivating)
2 – Keep the soil covered as long as possible
3 – Keep living roots in the soil as long as possible
4 – Introduce and maintain biodiversity (plants and animals)
5 – Leverage action of animals in the system (or biomimic effect of animals)
If you have grazing pasture one way proven to increase the life of the pasture is to spray raw milk at a rate of 3 gal per acre. I know others who mix fish emulsion in their tank with the milk, but the raw milk is the key. Here’s an article about its use: http://sustainabletraditions.com/2016/06/raw-milk-soil-input/