Farmers in the Body of Christ
April 6, 2023 | Elisa Dorman
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul explains that no part of the body - the community of God - is insignificant. "The eye cannot say to the hand, I don't need you" (1 Corinthians 12:21, NIV). Yet, how many Christian farmers reduce their "part of the body" to the role they play as a volunteer on a Sunday morning? To all who serve as part of a local church or ministry, bless you in your gifts and service.
However, do not discount your agricultural work as less than the work of God. Our God-given mission is a high calling. Our ministry is to the hungry, that they would be satisfied, to the earth, that it would grow stronger with age, and to our neighbours, that we would be witnesses to Christ's excellence. We stock store shelves and grace kitchen tables with that for which people give thanks. Let not the modern mind say to the calloused hands of a tractor mechanic, "I have no need of you."
Leading up to Paul's exhortation about the parts of the body, he writes about love. That the greatest gift is love, and only what is done in love counts for anything at all. We would be amiss to let the complexities of our globalised food systems lead us to believe that our operations are merely a cog in the supply chain. The fire that sustains the Christian farmer's labour should not be mere profit, which will one day fade away, but love. Not just love for the land, the product, or even of one's truck, but love for God and neighbours far and wide. By our work, we love those who nourish their bodies and delight their souls with the fruits of our hands.
In this Easter season, we are also reminded of the uniquely sacred role of the agricultural producer in the body.
At the last supper, with His beloved disciples gathered around the table, Jesus broke bread - His Body - and passed a cup of wine - His Blood. He could have chosen to share his flesh as gold, fire or oak. But He chose bread that was kneaded and baked, made with flour ground from grain, which was sown and tended. He chose a wine that was pressed and aged, made with grapes that were dressed and gathered. Jesus, holy humanity, chose the farmer to steward the seed that becomes the body of Christ. Through his ploughing and her vinedressing, producers supply not only kitchens of friends, but the glorious table of God's presence.
The work of the farmer is a calling from God and a gift to the body of Christ and the world. The Lord sees us in our profession and chooses us for this mission. May we do all things unto the glory of God and approach this Easter with joy that we are invited intimately into the work of Jesus.
Elisa Dorman is a freelance writer. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.