A Steward of Creation



Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.
~Wendell Berry


When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
~Masanobu Fukuoka 



I should understand the land, not as a commodity, an inert fact to be taken for granted, but as an ultimate value, enduring and alive, useful and beautiful and mysterious and formidable and comforting, beneficent and terribly demanding, worthy of the best of man’s attention and care… [My father] insisted that I learn to do the hand labor that the land required, knowing–and saying again and again–that the ability to do such work is the source of a confidence and an independence of character that can come no other way, not by money, not by education.
~Wendell Berry



He knows all about the cycle of the seasons
When to plow, when to disc, when to harrow,
When to plant, when to fertilize,
When to irrigate, when to weed,
When to harvest, when to leave stubble and
When to lie fallow.

He knows to read the sky and feel the wind
When the forecast is right,
When it is just plain off,
When to quit early for the day,
When to keep going beyond dark and
When to give up and go to bed.

He knows his animals and what they need
When to bring them in, when to turn them out,
When to doctor them himself,
When to call the vet,
When to use heroics and
When to let go.

He knows his family and friends
When to tease his wife, when to hug her,
When to be tough on the kids, when to love them
When to give all he’s got, when to withhold
When to bid at the sale barn, when to just smile and
When to go home empty handed but full of stories.

He knows his Bible and his faith
When to pray aloud, when to be silent,
When to trust through hard times,
When to share abundance,
When to believe with burning heart and
When to forgive and be forgiven.

He knows his time is coming
When his worn and tired body slows down,
When he drives his pickup and takes a wrong turn,
When he shows up for chores breathing hard,
When he bids at auction just because and
When he lies down for a nap and doesn’t get up.

He lies fallow, sleeping,
Having given up and let go
To head home, without getting lost,
Stubbled, forgiven and loved,
Storing the rest of his harvest
For a new and glorious day.



5 thoughts on “A Steward of Creation

  1. As often happens when I read your inspired words that come from your heart, Emily, I am unable to find my own words to fully express how they touch me. Your poignant thoughts today, so lovingly crafted, say so much. It is obvious that they come from your heart and from a generation or more of experience both heartbreaking and joyful.

    Farmers today have added to their daily workload with its usual disappointments and stress from dawn to dusk (and often beyond) the added burdens of outside forced interference from seed companies and chemical industries. To name but a few: Monsanto, ConAgra, DuPont, Bayer, Land O’Lakes….) These companies use warnings, threats, and intimidation to force these hard-working dedicated farmers to accept other ways of doing their jobs – using dangerous chemicals and seed manipulation – perhaps most ominous of all: GMO (Genetic Modified Organism) techniques ‘to produce a ‘greater, safer, more perfect yield’ they posit
    (as their ill-gotten immoral profits soar).

    The problem is that no one knows and probably will not know for years the cumulative effects of these experiments on present and future generations. The practices are based more upon economics and profit margin than upon the common sense and experiences of generations of farmers who have fed the world and who are still trying to achieve that result despite determined efforts to force them to change. Sharing in this guilt and to be held accountable for aiding and abetting these practices are our own government agricultural and environmental agencies and the court system that gives them and the participating companies carte blanche.

    As citizens – as Christians who honor and respect the gifts of our Creator-God – we must become informed and voice our non-acceptance, and by doing all that we can as individuals and as organized groups to let the powers that are using practices and enforcing policies detrimental to our farmers and to our food supply know that we will no longer tolerate or accept their immoral actions and interference and that we will use boycotts and any other legal options available to us to ensure that these companies cease and desist these practices.


  2. My husband is a farmer and we are caretakers of the land…you express it exquisitely, Emily! A beautiful tribute…and reminder. Thank you!


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