A visit to the u-pick-it farm

God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. Gen 1:29

Every suburban or urban dweller who doesn’t work in agriculture should make at least two visits to a u-pick-it farm a year.

We have developed such a culture of consumers, that many of us have little appreciation of the abundance with which God has graced us. Fresh fruit means going to the local supermarket. For what is there to be thankful? A convenient parking space? Extended operating hours? A short line at the check-out? That’s all “stuff” of human endeavor that we tend to take for granted.

But visit a u-pick-it to gather your own produce. Spend a couple of hours in the fields engaged in hide and seek with the fresh vegetables and fruits. The wonder of food on the table engages your spirit.

The smells are the first things that grab you; earthiness, the sweetness of some produce and acridness of others, merging of smells baking under the sun.

Then there is the dirt itself; wondrous! Living things just spring up out of it. Add to that the variety of growing things, and the intricacy of the design of each. And all of it is both aided and assaulted by legions of insects of endless diversity and intricacy.

The effort of finding fruits or vegetables at just the right freshness and picking so as to not waste any offers a challenge. And you pick enough for a few pies, or a couple of dinners… while being reminded that the produce you take for granted is the result of human effort working within God’s creation hours upon hours to bring it to your table.

What does this have to do with stewardship? THE formula: God created everything that exists. He created us in His image, to do his work, and to have dominion over all creation, and to glorify him. That makes us stewards with the responsibility of doing as God would have us do.

So much of stewardship seems rather abstract. The u-pick-it makes it very concrete. It is hard to appreciate the wonder of the gift that God made in Genesis when it comes in a package at the local Super Foodmart. It is just another commodity for our consumption. But get out into the field. Appreciate the wonder of the springing of the produce from the soil. Appreciate the toil that it takes to make the produce available for purchase. Appreciate the effort that the chef exerts to prepare the food for the table.

The lyric from Godspell, “How shall we sing, sing the Lord’s song, in a foreign land?” based on Psalm 137 suddenly plays through my mind. The foreign land of our consumerist economy, foreign to God’s economy, conceals the wonder of God’s provision from us, and with it the cause to live in thanksgiving.