As most of you know, I recently moved to the country.
Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to live out in the country where I could garden and have animals and live a simple life. Like many, I grew up reading the “Little House” books, and read the entire series to my children as they grew up. I have always had a fascination with simple, agrarian living. Thankfully I married someone who had the same aspirations.
The first thing I did when moving here and getting settled, was start my flock of chickens. My chickens are breeds that are good layers, because at this point I am only raising them for eggs. When they are fully mature, I should get at least a dozen eggs every day. That means not only will I have plenty of eggs for our household, but I will be able to sell them as well. That will easily cover the cost of having chickens, making them pay for themselves.
My grandmother always had a big garden every year. She tilled, planted, hoed, weeded, watered, harvested. Every year she would “put up” all that she had grown. Not only that, but the she would take me to the “you pick” apple orchard and pick bushels of apples. I have such wonderful memories of that. You could eat as many apples as you wanted while you picked. Then we would go up to the farmhouse and pay for the apples we had picked – but that wasn’t all. We would go over to the stand and get fresh apple cider – straight out of the press. Later my grandmother would take all of those apples and make homemade apple sauce, which she also canned and “put up” every year. In her basement, there was a room lined with wood shelving. Each shelf was filled with jars of homemade jelly, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, apple sauce, and more.
She never let anything go to waste, and even reused bread bags for other things. That is my goal!
“Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8
Recently someone asked me “What is the draw?” What was the draw for living like this, gardening, working hard, etc.
I explained to her that I have always wanted to live this way, that I also think that our society relies too much on stores. What if something happens and I can’t get to the store? I want to be able to “make” my own food and know where my food comes from.
She looked at me funny and said something that struck me oddly.
She said something to the effect that “focusing on being self-reliant can lead to not having faith or reliance upon God.”
I was a bit taken aback by her statement.
Wanting to be self-reliant (as much as I can and not live off grid) is showing a lack of faith in God?
I beg to differ.
You know, there is a reason that middle America – the “flyover states” tend to lean so conservative. By conservative, I mean that they conserve and preserve the values that our nation was founded on. Faith in God, working hard, making your living with the sweat of your brow and the determination inside you.
Why is that?
Because middle America is where most of the farmers live.
Who could possibly have a greater reliance upon God than a farmer? I think that farmers, more than any other profession, are profoundly aware of just how not in control of things they are. Those who live closest to God’s creation, with their hands in the soil.
A farmer knows that they are completely reliant upon something other than themselves.
They plow, they sweat, they work, they plant and they pray.
They pray because the farmer knows they can’t make a drought end.
They pray because the farmer knows they can’t make the plants grow.
They pray because the farmer knows they can’t make the rain fall.
They pray because the farmer knows they can’t stop a plague of locusts.
They pray because they know they have no control over the harvest. Will it be bountiful or will it be scarce?
The farmer prays because he knows he truly has no control over anything. He does what he can, what he knows to do, and the rest is up to God.
When you know you don’t have any control, you MUST have faith.
At the same time, I believe that we are supposed to work. Our bodies were made for it. When Adam & Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, what were they told to do?
“therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.” Gen 3:23
Jesus told countless parables related to farming and the harvest. There is something to be said about this connection.
Secondly, she mentioned the physical work that all of this took. Do I really want to do all that? Of course!
I believe we were made to work. Our body needs physical activity. Without getting too preachy here (I know, too late) look at the ailments that so many Americans suffer from. How often are we told over and over and over again by doctors to get more exercise? Get in shape? Lose weight? Our body was made to work.
“For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.” 2 Thess 3:10
So, do I think that Self-Sufficiency leads to a lack of faith in God? Nothing could be further from the truth.