“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11:1
Where I come from in rural Southwest Virginia, encompassed in what is known as the “Moonshine Capital of the World,” lies the minuscule yet humble community of Callaway. This is where I was born and raised. Here, there seems to be a sort of generalization: With faith comes farming and with farming comes faith.
Within this small town, there are hundreds of hard-working, simple folk, many of whom farm. There are many cattle farms in this area, be it dairy or beef, and many of them have diversified over the years to include swine, poultry, and/or grains and crops. Not only do farmers here usually have a strong faith in God, they also tend to have a strong faith in what they do. With that said, their crops and livestock usually bring forth bountiful fruits.
Faith and religion in general can be a touchy subject at times, but for this purpose, we all have a varying degrees of farming as a foundation. I believe that as followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to shine His light through our thoughts, actions, and, yes, even our work mannerisms. If we have faith in the almighty God, whom we cannot physically see, shouldn’t we also have faith in the tangible crops and livestock He has placed right before our eyes? Likewise, if we have hope in the Lord’s omnipotent power to perform vast miracles and care for us all through our day-to-day ventures, we ought to have a hope that our farming exercises will be successful as well. God has a wonderful plan greater than anything we can imagine. If there’s a severe drought, torrential flood, or damaging blight, there’s a driving force for all these things. In the same sense, extraordinary weather, a timely harvest, and vibrant rainbows only reiterate God’s promises to mankind. Though trials and temptations do arise, we as Christians should not grumble and gripe, but rather rejoice and resew with seeds of gratitude for all that we have been blessed with.
I heard a story not long ago of a farmer who had a large, beautiful, and well-producing homestead. One day the farmer’s preacher came by the farm to examine the operation. Impressed with what he saw, the preacher exclaimed “Oh my, what a beautiful farm you have! God has blessed you with so much and one can clearly see the products of your labor!” The farmer meekly replied, “You should have seen the place when God had it by himself.”
God has graciously allowed us use of His world, and even by using the land around us in ways we may see as sufficient, we are still altering His magnificent handiwork. As we go about it our daily lives, may we make every effort to take tremendous care of God’s wonderful creation; He has made it available for our use, not abuse.
Danielle Craighead is a senior at Ferrum College in Virginia, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness. She has worked for a local creamery and currently is a “milk maid,” as her grandparents like to call it, on their third-generation dairy farm. She plans to use her faith as a firm foundation when she starts her own agribusiness after graduation.