From the Desk of … I’m no farmer!
by Kelly Pontsler
I’m a city girl, through and through. I love the motion and commotion of city life. I love the sights and sounds and smells (OK, maybe not ALL the smells) of the city. I love wandering city streets and I even love riding public transportation!
So you will understand that I had to laugh right out loud the other day when I caught myself thinking about corn—corn fields, to be exact. You see, the Golden State Division takes in a large swath of California’s central San Joaquin Valley. Day trips out to corps and units in the valley are a regular occurrence for all of our headquarters team. The other day I was on my way to Turlock, and as I usually do, cut across the valley west to east on Highway 132.
I now know the road well, and enjoy the scenery along the way as this two-lane road takes me off the freeway, past ranch houses and fields and cattle feed lots on its way into Modesto before turning south down Highway 99. The view doesn’t seem to change much from visit to visit, as the valley gently rolls through the seasons (a little more green, a lot less green depending on the month). But the other day, I couldn’t miss it. The corn in that field!
I don’t know why it caught my eye, but looking across the jam-packed field off to the right of the car, the corn stalks seemed as high as the sky. When did that happen? And that’s when I laughed. I mean really, when did I start paying attention to corn?
My mind flashed back to the summer I was 12-years-old. We were living in Colorado at the time, and our house had a fairly large back yard. I’m not sure what inspired it, but our dad decided to take over a strip of flowerbed along the back wall and plant some vegetables. I recall an abundance of zucchini and sunflowers, and about a dozen stalks of corn. Having moved from San Francisco the previous year, I remember thinking at the time that this was awesome! We had our very own farm! (Yes, I know…but do bear in mind that I am a city girl!)
Our dozen stalks of corn produced some good eating for a few meals for our family of six, but came nowhere close to the impact and importance of those San Joaquin fields. This last week I’ve noticed the big barrels of ears of corn in the grocery stores and have watched shoppers scooping them up by the bag full. You’ve got to love fresh corn in season! It wouldn’t get into those stores or onto our dinner plates without someone to grow it and harvest it.
I opened my Bible a day ago to start to prepare a sermon for this coming Sunday, offering to pick up in the series the corps officer is following in the book of Matthew. Guess what the text is? (You’re going to laugh!) The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field (Matt 9:37-38). How perfect is that? I can promise you that we’re going to be talking about corn on Sunday!
Here’s what intrigues me. In the very next verse Jesus called together his twelve disciples, conferred on them the authority they needed to get to work, and then he sent them out. These guys were fishermen and tax collectors. What did any of them really know about harvesting crops? They may not have been city boys, but they certainly weren’t farmers. They may have even laughed right out loud when they were told they were going harvesting! And yet Jesus pointed at each one of them and said, “I want you!” I remember the day the Lord said that to me. Do you?
Would you do me a favor? Eat some corn this week! And when you do, say a prayer of thanks to the Lord for those who got it from the field to your table, and maybe while you’re at it, offer to go do some harvesting of your own. The Lord’s fields are ready!