As I heard these words read by the one and only Paul Harvey, tears welled up in my eyes, my lips were quivering and I felt a big lump in my throat. I asked myself, why am I so emotional? It’s not that I haven’t heard these words before. And then, a huge overwhelming sense of pride. Yes, God did make a farmer and someone is acknowledging what we do everyday on our farm.
It was so refreshing for someone, especially the voice of Paul Harvey, appreciating what we as farmers do. And stating it bluntly and so matter-of-factly. The Ram truck commercial was so unexpected. It was a treasure to be remembered.
What passage stood out for me?
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.
Why does this passage resonate with me? It’s not that we have horses, or we shape ax handles and we definitely don’t shoe horses out of a car tire. But we do have pigs and I think of the endless hours we spend taking care of them–Christmas, birthdays, days we are sick and days we just don’t feel like doing anything. I think of all the time spent helping mother pigs giving birth or helping struggling baby pigs find their first meal of warm milk. But, unfortunately, it’s not all peaches and cream . . .
But he felt a duty and responsibility to be with these pigs–to do everything he could to keep them alive. TGE is a disease that is lethal to baby pigs. The pigs are born healthy, but once they start drinking the mother’s milk, they become very sick and die. It is nearly 100% fatal until after the pigs build up an immunity to the virus. But my husband was determined to prove the veterinarian wrong. He was going to save them. With all his determination and work in trying to nurse them back to health . . .
They all died.
He may have felt a little defeated but it didn’t deter his attitude or his passion that things will be better next time. The pigs eventually returned to full health. Farmers always think things will be better next time.
And I smile when I think about the comparisons of farmers using their resourcefulness to either fix things or make things out of practically nothing. Farmers can literally make anything or fix anything out of next to nothing. They use their hands to make parts for tractors when none can be had. And they make engineering improvements to equipment the manufacturing company hadn’t thought of.
It’s not just the things that my husband can do on the farm, but it’s “other” things. Building a handrail out of lumber scraps for his ill mother-in-law, allowing his young granddaughters to help “grease” the tractor (with oil can and grandpa’s flannel shirt on so they don’t get too dirty), giving his 8-month old granddaughter a ride on the lawnmower, putting a John Deere tractor puzzle together while explaining ALL (and I mean all!) the parts of a tractor, building block towers only to watch his grandchildren crash them to the floor, sharing his donut with the family dog, putting a water tank together for my garden when the rain would not be, grilling pork chops for county fair goers, or giving someone a hug when they just plain need one.
This is what it means to be a farmer. All of it.
And the hours that farmers work? Paul Harvey is spot on about having a 40-hour week by Tuesday noon. I remember many nights, especially during harvest, working in the field until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. Why?
Because we are God’s stewards. As God’s stewards, we make sure all of what God has blessed us is harvested in a timely manner – not wanting to take a chance with what Mother Nature could take away in a blink of an eye.
And last but not least, it’s really a very humbling job – to be God’s caretaker. But we work everyday to make that day better than the one before. This is what farmers do.
For the complete passage of “So God Made A Farmer”, click on my blog link.