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Last Lesson From The Farm

by Bob Yarbrough

Bob Yarbrough

For those of you who have followed my lessons from the farm through the past years, I imagine you are surprised by another lesson from the farm. I am too, for I mentioned a year ago I was finished with that project. However if you paid close attention to the title of this article you will notice the word “Last” at the beginning. It has special significance to this article, because the bottom line is that there soon will be no more farm, hence the last lesson from the farm.

In October, 2013, Janet and I made the painful decision to sell our place and move to the big city of Forney, Texas to be closer to our family, our church, and our “doctors.” You see, we are not getting any younger. Many folks have arrived at this kind of decision, so it is not unique to us. Some folks move just to move, others move into retirement residences, etc. We are trying to be “pro-active” in doing this. We both are in reasonably good health at the present time (PTL), so we decided to make the move now rather than have it forced upon us due to some unforeseen circumstances. The up-keep of a farm is getting more difficult as one “matures.” Our family understands this and they have given us their blessing, but we truly shall miss the good times we have enjoyed with our grandkids (and all of our family) through the years at the farm. We contacted a real estate agent who specializes in the sale of farm and ranch property and, as they say, got the ball rolling. He told us to be patient because not every home buyer is looking for property such as ours; but he is convinced that eventually it will sell. However, he said it might take a couple of years because of the national downturn in the housing market. So, we plan to maintain the “status-quo” here with life as usual until a buyer comes along. However, the whole process has caused me to reflect upon several things thus giving impetus to this final lesson from the farm. I speak with the affirmation of my wife, as well, in this lesson.

First and foremost, we know that we are in the hands of a loving God in everything that occurs in our lives. During a dark period in the history of Israel, God reminded his people, “For I know the plans I have for you…” (Jeremiah 29:11a). While the context was God’s faithfulness to Israel to release them from captivity after seventy years, Christians certainly can take heart in that same faithful promise of God. Just as He knew and was in control of Israel’s plans, He knows the plans for our lives as well. Our job is to rest in that assurance. The real estate agent encouraged us to be patient for the sale. I know that patience is hard for some people (probably all of us), but believers are taught that patience is a “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22), and we are to exhibit it along with several other important attributes (Ephesians 4:2). God will bring about the sale of our farm at His appointed time, and we will rest in that assurance. We will be in no hurry to move because our trust is firm in the timing of the Lord. He is never late, so we trust His leading in this matter. If He knows the number of hairs on our head and the sparrow that falls to the ground (Matt. 10:29-30), then it is no hard thing for Him to know the plans He has for us as well.

Another thought that has impressed me as we contemplate our move is the importance of the memories we have been allowed to make at the farm. I have shared many of them with you already, so I shall not enumerate them here. You most certainly have your own memories as well; for they have been given to all of us by a wise Creator. Some are pleasant while some are not; some are to treasure while some are instructive. When the shepherds returned to their fields after the birth of the baby Jesus, the scripture says that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). To ponder means to weigh or consider carefully and to reflect and think deeply about something. We, indeed, have many great memories of our time at the farm. We shall treasure and “ponder” them with smiles and with some sorrows in our hearts. We laugh at some and cry at others. That’s the way life is.

As we age, believers vividly become reminded that this world is not our home. As we made the decision to move, this truth was impressed upon us. The Apostle Paul wrote of this when he said: “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). I think that leaving one place and moving to another can serve as a visible reminder that we need not attach ourselves too closely to the things of this world. The fact that we will be downsizing considerably is a good thing because we don’t need to hang on to things which ultimately perish over time. Downsizing is a great object lesson to remind us of the words of Jesus: “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:15, 34). We cannot take our valuables with us anyway when we arrive at our heavenly destination – nor would we even want to. I am reminded of a story of a man who insisted upon taking all his gold with him when he entered heaven. Because of his insistence, He was granted permission to do so. When he walked through the pearly gates with his suitcases filled with gold, the angels inquired why he would want to bring all that asphalt with him. Therefore, a much better plan is to lay up treasures in heaven by serving the Lord faithfully here below.

A final thought as we plan for this move is to be reminded of the brevity of life. It seems like only yesterday that we moved into our house at the farm. In reality it was seventeen years ago. We had one six month old grandchild and now there are six – all teenagers. We have lost three of our four parents while here. Life does move along – even more quickly as we get older. We are always just one moment away from eternity anyway, but that is especially true the older we get. Our move from the farm speaks to this truth. The psalmist said, “My days pass away like smoke…like grass that has withered” (Psalms 102:3, 4). Job expressed the same sentiments when he said, “Remember my life is but a breath…” (Job 7:7). And then James said, “What is your life? You are a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). As we contemplate the impact of this thought we should pray with the psalmist: “Lord, teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalms 90:12).

We might be at the farm another two plus years, or we might be packing our things for a move in early spring. God knows! In the meantime, we have had the opportunity to reflect upon these last lessons from the farm. 1) We know we are in the hands of a loving Father who knows all of our plans and does not make mistakes. 2) We know that we have many fond memories of the time we have been here. God has been so good in this respect. Our physical family and our church family have enjoyed many good times here. 3) We know that our farm has only been on loan to us for a moment in time. Everything we have belongs to him. Our eternal home is the place He has prepared for those who love Him and we are on course and headed in that direction. Our farm has just been a stop-over for a little while. 4) And finally we know that our time here is short. Our life is but a blink of the eye in God’s overall plan. It is indeed comforting to say with the psalmist, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalms 139:16). We shall miss the farm, but we look forward to what the Lord has prepared for us in the future.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

 

-Bob Yarbrough is an Elder at Centerpoint Church, Mesquite, TX. 




2 Responses to “Last Lesson From The Farm”

  1. Don McGee says:

    Bob,

    Thanks for this article. Your insights about life on the farm reach to the heart of life itself. And to me this one is just another reminder that these physical bodies are not designed to exist in His eternal presence…something I am grateful for!

    You and Janet come from good spiritual stock, and I am sure this soundness is evident in your grandchildren.

    In the Blessed Hope,

    Don

  2. admin says:

    Don– Thanks a lot for the comments– May the Lord bless your ministry.

    Larry Miles



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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8