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Is Farming Risky?

Posted: 5/1/20 at 4:30pm. Column by Ed Jordan.

Have you ever tried to grow a garden? Easy, right? Plant some seeds in the ground, water daily, then enjoy ripe tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers or squash. But we rarely factor in the risk of possible losses. Even a simple thing like raising a garden involves risk.

We know about the risk of frost, so we wait to put out our plants until after the probability of frost. But there’s also the risk of destructive weather, insects, blights, and deer or other animals raiding the garden. And if you leave town for a few days, you have to ask somebody else to water the garden for you.

Most of us just raise a kitchen garden, so our risk is relatively low. But farmers risk everything on planting a crop, keeping it healthy, having a market to sell to, and getting it from the field to the table. So many other occupations include great risk, like firefighters, policeman, all first responders, and many others.

The truth is that almost every aspect of our lives involves risk. But for the most part, risk is not on our radar. We presume that our bodies will always function at full capacity, but that presumption is just that. We all could be at risk for a heart attack, stroke, allergic reactions, car accidents, falls, and a hundred other things can happen without forewarning. Yet few of us live in constant fear of such events. While risk exists, we do not allow it to prevent us from living the best we can while we can.

There is never zero percent risk in any of our daily lives. To be alive is to face risks. To live life is to overcome risks. Those who came to the United States risked their lives in leaving their homelands, risked their lives in little ships during ocean storms, risked their lives from shipwreck, scurvy, or dysentery. Upon arriving they risked their lives finding food, building shelters, surviving winter.

Why did they come? For a better life. Why did they risk all? Because the possibility of a better life after the risk, was more motivating than fears of unseen risks. When you take a job, you take a risk. Will it work out? Will I be able to pay my bills? Will they like my work? Will they not like my work and fire me? Will the company stay in business so I have a job six months from now? But you can’t let such possible risks rob you of your future! Or can you?

Many years ago I had a friend who worked with me, and he had this thing about his hair always being just right so he looked good. Our job took us out knocking on doors, to meet people and talk with them. The wind was almost always blowing in that city. On many days my friend did not go out to work, because the wind was blowing, and would mess up his hair. I know this sounds silly, but some people let small things keep them from accomplishing big things.

About that time, I read the following verses from Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 (NLT), which give us good advice about beginning to overcome risk and obstacles in order to build a productive life: “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.”

Life is wonderful. Eternal life is seventy gazillion times better than the best life we can live here. If you are still here, and I presume you are since you’re reading this, then realize that God has things for you to do in life.

Will there be risk? Even in the best of times there is risk. But God knows what he is doing. Follow God, walk with God, and trust God that you are in his hand. There will be times when God says: “Don’t go out today.” There will be more times when he says, “Get going, I have some appointments for you to keep today.” Share him in the morning, afternoon, and evening; you never know when new life will spring up from those encounters!

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.