Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,
keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations
of those who love him and keep his commandments.
A farmer reflects an accurate father image of our Heavenly Father. With this coming Sunday being Father’s Day, my thoughts turn towards my biological father. He was a Nebraska farmer through and through. The land he farmed was originally homesteaded by my great-grandfather when he immigrated from Ireland. The farm was passed down from my great-grandfather to my grandfather, to my father, and now is possessed by me. The land is farmed by my dad’s step grandson with the help of Dad’s step great grandsons. This is quite a heritage! However, my dad has passed on an even greater heritage than this ground. My dad was well-grounded in his faith in God and he has passed that on to me as well. Yes, I know God has no grandchildren and I am a child of God because of my own choice, but Dad was a positive influence to help me find my own faith. Like my Heavenly Father, my dad was loving and influenced multiple generations in multiple ways. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.
But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word
and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop,
yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
I am reminded of the parable of the sower recorded in Matthew 13:3-8 with the parable explanation in Matthew 13:18-23. As Dad planted seed in the soil of his fields, some crops would produce better yields than others depending upon such factors as the amounts of rainfall and insect invasions. The soil condition was affected by the plowing and cultivating of the land as well as the amounts of fertilizer applied. Dad was also a diligent father who took excellent care of his family financially and spiritually. Dad planted corn and soy bean seeds into the soil to produce crops that he could sell to provide for Mom and me. He also sowed
imperishable seeds of God’s Word into my soul to provide for spiritual growth. He was an excellent farmer of faith as well as a farmer of fields. Because of his agricultural background, he knew the condition of the soil was important for him to plant crops that would produce high yields. Because of his spiritual background, he knew the condition of the heart was important for God’s seed to produce lives yielded to Him. Prayer was the tool he utilized to cultivate the soil of my heart. My father’s faith reflected the “good soil” referred to in the Parable of the Sower. He not only passed on to me the “good soil” of the farm land but also the “good soil” of the soul where faith grows. I am very thankful to him for that. Yes, there is value in the land I now own but I place a higher value upon my faith in Christ. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.
God has imparted many words of wisdom to me through scripture, especially Proverbs which is known as the book of wisdom. As I reflect upon Proverbs 1:8, I see how “your father’s instruction” can refer to both my biological father and my Heavenly Father. My dad often sowed seeds of wisdom into my life. After he retired, I remember his telling me that he liked to rent the farm by shares which meant the renter got a certain percentage of the income and the landlord got a certain percentage. He felt this was the fairest way to do business because if it was a good year both participants received a good income but if it was a bad year both parties experienced a decrease in income. However, he went on to say that he could understand why “some women” who owned farms preferred cash rent which meant the renter paid the landlord a set price regardless of the yearly yield. Overall, it was fair because the good and the bad years usually balanced out. I agreed with his comments. Years later when I became the owner of the farm, I understood the viewpoint of cash rent that he shared with me was wisdom for me. Essentially, Dad was releasing me from the hands on decisions of a landlord and giving me his permission to use cash rent in my dealings with the farm. This has been a blessing to me regarding how I now handle farm business. My father has blessed me with financial wisdom as well as spiritual wisdom. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father.
My dad wore work boots when he was in the field. Consequently, I honor him with this image because they remind me of him. I also realize his shoes are not easy for me to fill, but I will follow in his footsteps. In Romans 4:12, Paul refers to Abraham as being the father of those who walk in the footsteps of the faith. I am blessed to be able to say that as I walkout my faith today I am walking in the footsteps of my father, Howard McKeag. My Farmer Father exemplified our Heavenly Father. My Reader, thank you for allowing me to share my reflections of my Farmer Father with you. Now, how do you want to honor your father on Father’s Day? Your dad’s shoes probably look very different from those of my dad, but that is the way it should be. Each father is unique. No matter what his occupation, he can still leave for you footsteps of faith that exemplify our Heavenly Father.
Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers!