In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18
Shortly after acquiring my Putnam County farm, I began to canvas the local area for a tractor that would provide the necessary traction to work the steep (really steep) hillsides of our farm. I had noticed that the previous owner had a Massey Ferguson 135, so I figured if that model worked for him, that’s what I would watch for. I finally located one from a retired farmer who lived between Eleanor and Buffalo. It had with it some plows and extra farm equipment. I was confident, as I tried the tractor out by driving it around the gentleman’s yard, that the tractor and I would probably get along fine together. So after concluding the transaction and moving the tractor and equipment to my newly acquired farm, I was ready to venture forth. I had, in my mind’s eye, already seen what I hoped to accomplish among the briers and the brambles. After extending the wheels out as far as they would go and adjusting the seat as low as my long legs would allow, I hooked up the mower and set out. Man, those hills sure looked steep. My first day was spent in the lowest possible gear, while hanging onto the fender to keep from falling off the tractor. I had asked the previous owner how long it took him to mow the field I was working in. His response was "you can get it done in under a day." When my first day was over I hardly had made a dent in the mowing and my nerve wasn’t close to being ready for some of the really steep banks. On the second day I discovered 2nd gear and even began to consider 3rd. By the third day, 2nd gear was mostly for turning, but 3rd gear was ‘where it was at’. I finally finished mowing the field on the fourth day. The next time I was to tackle this field, I would finish it in less than a day!
Our Christian walk is much like my exposure to the Massey Ferguson 135. Our first ventures with any of God’s ‘equipment’ are sure to be slow and apprehensive. Wisdom dictates that we walk slowly and safely, measuring progress by progress. As our confidence grows, along with our abilities, we begin to accomplish more with less effort. We are learning how to work in the yoke. And his burden is easy.
My tractor and I became a team. We eventually got most of the farm cleaned up. But I was still praying my way around many of the hillsides.
One October morning my ‘buddy’ and I headed over the hill to some ‘bottom ground’ down on Eighteen Mile Creek, to clean up a remnant corn patch. After mowing for some time in the eight-acre field, I happened to notice the hub cap on the front wheel had fallen off somewhere in my rounds. The cap (smaller than a tennis ball) would be hard to locate, considering the mulching action of my brush blade. God, I know it’s a small item, but could you help? Almost immediately I spotted the cap right out in plain view. Thank you Jesus! I stopped the tractor and got off to retrieve the cap, thanking the Lord for his help. As I knelt to pick up the hubcap, I saw next to the cap, underneath some mulched corn, my wallet, which had worked out of my pocket beneath my coveralls. Oh My!! My thanking reached into a higher level! I would never have spotted the wallet without kneeling for the hubcap. A rejoicing farmer again knelt to replace the cap on the wheel of my ‘buddy’. As I was replacing the cap, I noticed a water leak coming from a small hole in a radiator hose. I began thanking and praising the Lord for showing the potentially damaging leak. I would not have seen it in time, without kneeling to replace the hubcap. As I headed my tractor homeward for repair, I continued to praise the Lord for his wonderful presence. As I pulled into the barn area, the old hose burst completely. I just praised the Lord through the rising steam. We really are peculiar people.
When I had purchased a new hose and was going over the routine maintenance checks on the Massey Ferguson, I discovered that the main drive had broken. It would function normally on level or uphill terrain, but would have completely become detached upon turning the tractor downhill. There would have been no way to stop on a downhill grade - and all my grades were very downhill. I don’t have command of the English language enough to adequately express my gratitude to my Lord and friend. But he knows my heart.
Thank you, Jesus.