For the last several years my family has been searching for a piece of land, a bit of acreage, a simple homestead, or anything else that would give us some freedom from the dreaded Home Owners Association. Periodically one of us would come across a property for sale, ranging anywhere from ten to nearly one hundred acres, and suggest we go check it out. Many times we quickly ruled them out, but sometimes we took much longer to pass up a deal.
Our land-purchasing excursions were sometimes more frequent and other times more sporadic. We would be sure we wanted to move out of our neighborhood, but then we would question that desire.
Eventually, our zeal for life in the country died down. We somewhat gave up on our property hunt.
Then, suddenly, after a very quick and surprising opportunity arose, we purchased a twenty-acre, peach orchard.
No, we didn’t know anything about orchards or peaches or what it takes to run a successful farm, but we pressed on in faith.
Soon after the transaction, my brother began remodels on a small farm house that sat on the farm. Our parents then started plans for a custom home to build on another portion of the property. Meanwhile, we were thrown into the middle of our first peach season with no knowledge of how to grow the fruit.
Before we began harvesting, we did some research on peach trees and growing fruit. But, even equipped with this limited amount of knowledge, we were practically clueless when it came to running an orchard. Even so, we pressed on.
Although we were overwhelmed with the preparatory work, we were probably most surprised at the amount of peaches we had to pick in the first week of harvesting.
Then we had our first sale day.
I’m not the most outgoing person when it comes to strangers, but selling peaches made me have to try to be. Dozens of people of all types came to our farm in search of the soft, sweet fruit, and I was often made to speak to them.
I think I did a descent job of this, but I didn’t do it as passionately until I realized something. Our orchard–our peach sales–could be a form of ministry.
Sporting our custom t-shirts that read,
“Love, Joy, and Peaches
Fruitful Family Farms”
we were proudly displaying our beliefs in a subtle way. Although we did not shake a Bible and shout at our customers as they drove by, we were still ministering.
We openly spoke about our faith if it was brought up in conversation, but we did not force it on anyone. We smiled at everyone as they walked up.
One particular man that visited our farm touched me and drastically changed my viewpoint of orchard work. He came and purchased a small number of peaches, thanking us with a smile on his face as he began to walk away. Then, in a way that I can’t quite recall, his wife was brought up.
She was in the Hospital; doctors had only given her a few days to live.
This was his current predicament, yet he still came to us smiling. My dad said he would pray for him, and that seemed to bring the stranger a bit of joy. He then got into his car and drove away.
We were all disheartened to hear the man’s story, but I was also given a sense of purpose in my farm work.
Later, my dad said he regretted not offering to pray with the man immediately. I felt the same way. Why had we hesitated? What difference could we make in even just one person’s life if we just prayed for them? It wouldn’t have to be intricate; it could be simple. So, as peach season is coming to a close, I realize that even selling peaches on a small farm in Tulsa, Oklahoma can be a ministry.
What do you already do that you can use as a ministry?
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8 NIV)