Read: Romans 15:4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Hebrews 10:36
Advice is abundant, but not all advice works. Some advice sounds cheap, and other advice sounds too good to be true. Some ‘advisors’ don’t know what they’re talking about. Others are so subjective that they can’t give good advice. Many just want to benefit at your expense.
Nevertheless, we all regularly need advice and encouragement. The old farmer who is struggling to keep up with the changes and new challenges in agriculture; the young farmer who is disappointed that farming with his father isn’t working out; the agriculture student who can’t start farming without seed capital; the coloured and black farmers whose parents lost their land and are impatient to get land again; the person farming on commonage land who is being robbed blind; the subsistence farmer doing everything himself the commercial farmer carefully managing the expectations of many workers; and the farmworker who wants a better future for his children! Farmers and agriculture leaders must regularly make difficult choices. Everyone is looking for advice and encouragement!
Read the following prayer of a farmer. Look at all the challenges he mentions:
Lord, I want to speak from the heart. Farming is not a joke. I feel like an old springbuck ram in a game farm full of hunters. I don’t know which way to run anymore. Behind every hill, there’s another hunter lying in wait, each with a gun. My heart is racing out of fear: How much longer, Lord, before I’m hit by a bullet? What should I do? There are land reform and water tax; high input costs, rising fuel prices, and unstable market prices that make planning really difficult; mechanization and globalization; labour laws and weapon laws; exchange rates and contract prices; new markets and so many crooks who want to do me in; expensive vehicles, bad roads, and unreliable electricity supply; and cashflow challenges. And then there are the reasonable expectations of my staff as well. They also need to have an opportunity to get to know Jesus. They need to be encouraged, and some of them should be given their own piece of land. El Nino is still around, and global warming will surely further upset our climate. On top of this, my sons are on their way to the farm expecting a bright future. All of this while my neighbour’s farm was auctioned off yesterday and two of our friends were murdered in a farm attack last week. And to make me even more afraid, all I hear in the news is doom and gloom shouted so loudly that it makes my ears ring. Truths, half-truths, and sheer nonsense get sent around on WhatsApp. It’s so confusing that I don’t know what to believe anymore. My hope is fading, and my expectations are dying. Will I also be forced to sell my farm?
Father, speak to me. Lord, encourage me and give me advice! Holy Spirit, lead me and teach me what to do. I don’t even know what to pray anymore. Help me! AMEN.
Let’s learn from David, the herdsman from Bethlehem: he also went through difficult times. God instructed Samuel to anoint David as king (1 Samuel 16:1 and verses 12-13). David was probably only about 20 years old. He received the promise, instruction, and equipping to be king from God. But, for about 10 years he had everything but a kingly life. During this time he was insulted and threatened. His life was constantly in danger, and he suffered many hardships (1 Samuel 20:3 and 23:26, as well as 27:1). He had to wait at least 10 years before he became King of Judah at the age of 30 (2 Samuel 5:4). And he only became king of the whole of Israel seven and a half years later (2 Samuel 5:4-5; 1 Chronicles 29:27).
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) [NIV]. The difficult years in David’s life of which we read in the Bible encourage us, make us steadfast and give us hope.
You know David’s story. But just like we don’t know what the future holds for us, David didn’t know at the beginning how his story would end. He had to move forward in faith, step by step, until what God said became a reality (acc. Hebrews 10:36).
Think, chat, pray, and listen:
- Read 1 Samuel 16:1 to 2 Samuel 2:7. Understanding the whole story will help you a lot.
- How do you feel about farming and your future in agriculture?
- What do you think went through David’s thoughts when he felt that nothing was working out for him?
- Why do you think David’s story is recorded in the Bible for us?
Move forward, step by step in faith until what God has said about you becomes a reality!
† Thank the Lord that David’s story is recorded in the Bible.
† Tell God how you feel.
† Pray for someone else who feels the same as you do.
† Ask the Lord to help you persevere.