Monday, June 7, 2010

Wheat Harvest

My daughter's friend made the same comment about the country where I grew up that almost everyone does from Louisiana. "It's so ugly and dry," was her comment. After living all these years in the sub-tropical forest of Western Louisiana, I feel the same way when I go back to the land of my birth - the rolling plains of West Central Texas. I recognize the beauty, but compared to where I live, it is dry and often ugly. That opinion, that impression, however, is a myth. It is not true.

We just happened to travel back there this time during wheat harvest. To the untrained eye, the ripe wheat fields look dead. But, every farmer hopes his fields are dry so he can harvest his crop. And he knows, too, that the fields are not full of dead crops, but full of green. When quality is decent, and the price holds, Texas farmers make hundreds of millions of dollars from the seeds held in the dry tops of the wheat. What looks like dry, dead, stubble is actually a whole lot of green.

I went back to my home town, Knox City, a place I had avoided for several years; not because I had bad memories, but because I had good memories. You see, the town I remember was alive, full of thriving small businesses, families, friends, and hope, but the last time I saw it it looked as dry as the wheat fields do to our friends from Louisiana. I avoided Knox City, because to me it looked like it was dying and that broke my heart.

My home town is not dead. Farmers are still harvesting wheat, and businesses are opening, and they had a wet spring so things were green. More importantly, I saw the people again. Families with children. Community leaders still loving their home. Old friends raising children and grandchildren. While I was there I remembered something Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white with harvest."

Too many of us in our country, in our communities, and in our churches see only dryness and ugliness. Too many of us in our marriages and our jobs see no hope. Too many of us who lead churches see laziness or resistance or death where God sees the potential for life. We desparately need to lift up our eyes.