Traditional Values: “Farmland” As An Important Metaphor

If farmland is plowed (especially with fertilizer laid down)… by four, five, ten, fifteen, twenty, or more individual farmers (let alone several toiling around the same time), but none are willing to buy the land (choosing instead to abandon it not long after the tilling begins), there is either something seriously wrong with the land, or with the ability of the owner to properly choose who should rightly tend to it.

The remedy isn’t to seek further plowing/fertilization (by any other farmer, even if it is “just one,” and even if it is, “this time,” the supposed “right one”). Instead, the emphasis should be on giving the land a much needed rest, taking a break from all additional furrowing, and letting it remain off limits to such activity for a couple of years, if not more. The goal should be to thoroughly protect the soil, enrich it, nurture it, and to give it all the time it needs to prepare itself for proper cultivation, even for the most beneficial and bountiful kind possible. The land, and no doubt the psyche of the owner, needs time to heal, recover, and flourish. It cannot recuperate if it continues to be worked, let alone repeatedly (or even occasionally) over-worked.

Only when the land has fully rebounded (when it’s quality and richness has returned; when the true value of its treasure has been restored; and when its worth is fully appreciated by both the owner, and by any and all potential lone purchasers), only then, should the owner consider allowing the permanent purchase of that land. Moreover, any such contemplation must be limited to the genuine, lifetime purchase and cultivation of it. The rule must be that there is but one lifelong buyer (one who is willing to permanently honour/cherish/nurture/support/sustain/strengthen the land and all that accompanies it, including the current land-owner), and that no tilling occurs before that purchase is finalised — by the one individual who is truly committed to it. To allow one to plow the land in any other scenario, in any other manner, is to evidence a strong retrogression, a strong lack of necessary healing, prudence, and growth. This is why the land owner must be vigilant and willing to cut off anyone who would undermine their ability to do the wise and responsible thing. That land owner should seek to associate only with like-minded people, those who can warn/encourage/admonish/exhort/protect them, and also congratulate them (for their discipline and ongoing success).

To the farmers out there…unjustly ploughing land that isn’t yours, land that you have no ethical right to, or lifelong commitment to, only weakens your own character and credibility. It evidences that you are willing to cause further harm/damage, all for cheap, short-term gain (think… leech/parasite). It reveals to all that you cannot man-up, take responsibility, and follow-through with the work you started. It declares: “shortsightedness, shallowness, immaturity, and self-centeredness.” This is even more so the case if you cause the land to bring forth fruit that you subsequently abandon. Either way, it’s all pretty pathetic. Why? Because rather than enriching the land, you are misusing, abusing, corrupting, and polluting it. You cheapen its value by your very presence. Rather than being a blessing, you’re a blight, causing destruction, and taking what doesn’t belong to you like the lowliest of thieves. The highest likelihood is that you will personally reap what you so (the only exception being that you have a Substitute, a stand in, One who took your place before God — and that Substitute can only be Christ).

Conclusion: Remember this farm-owners, your land is not rich, or liberated, simply because multiple people are able to cross into your borders, put stakes in it, claim it temporarily as their own, all as they irresponsibly plow your fields (experiencing the bulk of the benefit from it, with very little, if any, profit going to you). There is also no double standard in any of this. There is no double standard at all when the field is not level, when it’s not even… even. If, as the land owner, there is much greater risk to you personally, to your land, and to the fruit it bears [than there is to any of the migrant (as in non-permanent) farmers you allow to work what you have], then the greater responsibility and expectation falls upon you. This is true whether you like it or not, whether it’s fair or not; because it is, in fact, reality.

Remember this farmers, plowing many fields doesn’t make you “great.” It’s nothing to brag about and it’s everything to be ashamed of (when you have no right to do so, and for this metaphor, no one has any such right). Almost every two-bit “farm hand” can field-hop, plowing here and there for short-term gain. With all of the ‘gardening tools’ around in our society, it doesn’t take that much skill to play/”work”/plow the field, it really doesn’t (often, it’s all far too easy).

Now, there are some who delude themselves into thinking that they’re somehow special because they only plow “the highest quality and most spectacular fields.” Nonsense; the reality is that cheap, damaged land is cheap, damaged land, no matter how good it may look on the surface. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. Sometimes, some of the most seemingly valuable land, turns out to be the most broken, barren, disappointing, and otherwise problematic (and thus, in need of the most time to replenish and heal). Why? Because appearances can be deceiving, very deceiving. Quite often (sadly), when land has ‘too great an appearance,’ it will attract too much attention (even the wrong kind of attention), with too many admirers, robbers, and false husbandmen trampling upon the grounds. Such higher-traffic scenarios can easily lead to a greater amount of damage in a shorter period of time, leading to much anguish and dismay for the land owner, and a serious buyer beware scenario for any potential purchasers (so play/rent/buy at your own risk in such situations… or better yet, have a heart, abstain from doing so altogether, and give the land all the time it needs to revitalize and mend).

Finally, what is it that makes one a great farmer? It’s simple really… causing your own land (and all that pertains to it) to abound, to grow healthily, and to prosper, makes you a great farmer. It’s not about the riches that you accumulate, or the amount of fruit that grows, but the quality of it and the love, care, and responsibility you put into it. Even if no fruit flows forth, the land can still be put to great, great use (in a myriad of positive, wholesome, and productive ways). It’s all about the effort, love, commitment, gravity, and vision the husbandman has, and that he exercises over his homestead, in conjunction with his (hopefully) virtuous, industrious, respectful, and honourable co-land owner of course. When the farmer cultivates and leads well, (in the vast majority of cases) all goes well… even very well. No one is perfect, not even close, but we should all ardently strive towards the ideal. Study after study proves this, the bulk of the statistics prove this, but so does common sense… so may we all act with some…. with an abundance of it in fact.

Just something to consider..

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