Brace yourself. I’m about to venture into new territory for Intentional Dabblings. But it’s a little story line that’s been running through my mind. Over and over. It had to be taken out of the neurology of my brain and put it into black and white, so that maybe, just maybe it’d stop tormenting me. LOL
You see, I’ve been the exhausted farmer on many occasions and I have a theory that we all have at some point. I hope you’ll take a moment to read The Parable of the Exhausted Farmer and see what you can glean from it. Maybe you’re the reason it tormented me into writing it.
The Parable of the Exhausted Farmer
There once lived a farmer with a pasture full of sheep. He loved the sheep and wanted to keep his pasture full of them, so he did what he knew to do; he tended the pasture, keeping it green and lush. He greeted his sheep daily and tended to their wool, keeping them comfortable. But it did not rain and the pond went dry. The farmer continued to tend the sheep and the pasture.
In spite of the lack of rain, the grass continued to grow because beneath the pasture there was an old well. The farmer had no idea that the well was there and he assured his sheep that the rain would come. But they grew thirsty and while the farmer tended the pasture, some of the sheep found a hole in the fence and left, seeking water.
The farmer, noticing they were gone, was distraught. How can sheep just disappear? What kind of farmer loses his own sheep? Can’t the sheep see all the food there was to eat here in the pasture? The farmer continued to work hard in the pasture and tend the sheep. Sheep continued to disappear through the hole in the fence.
A neighbor noticed the hard working farmer and the dried up pond. He tried to call the farmer to tell him about the old well that lies beneath the pasture. They’d covered it up years ago when it was thought to be a danger. The farmer could tap the old well and provide for his sheep. But the farmer was too busy for phone calls. The neighbor tried to call out to the farmer from next door but the tractor was too loud and the farmer didn’t hear him.
The neighbor noticed the sheep slipping off into the woods and he spotted the broken fence. If only the farmer knew about the hole and the carpenter that lived just down the road. The carpenter could fix the fence. If only the farmer would slow down and listen.
The farmer was tired. He was a strong man and he was great at tending the pasture. He knew a lot about sheep. But he didn’t know a thing about noticing or caring for fences, his silly sheep kept disappearing, and it wouldn’t rain. He became frustrated and lost hope for the rain to come. He decided it was best for him to sell the farm.
Another farmer purchased the farm. He did a full evaluation of the land, the pasture, the pond, the fence, and the sheep. He reached out into the community and he met his neighbor. He tapped the old well. He was introduced to the carpenter. The land, the sheep, and the new farmer prospered and grew together alongside the neighbor.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”” – Matthew 11:28-30
The neighbor who symbolizes God in the parable was there wanting to give the farmer crucial information that would make his job easier. But the farmer wasn’t ready or willing to hear from him. He was busy and distracted.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” -Proverbs 3:5-6
Another reason the farmer couldn’t hear the neighbor was because he was convinced that the answer was rain not a hidden well. He thought the solution was outside his control.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” – Luke 12:31
The farmer was too distracted and busy by the task of tending the pasture and the sheep to recognize that He needed God. He worked by his own hand without inviting God into the task.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2
The farmer had to admit he had a problem. The fence remained broken. The farmer knew nothing of carpentry but didn’t admit it his weakness and seek help.
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2
God knew that there was a skilled carpenter who could share the burden of the farmer and assist with the broken fence.