Once upon a time, a farmer was offered a choice piece of fertile ground. The former owner had worked hard for many years to stock the barn with various seeds to produce more than ample harvests. It was good soil and the purchase included everything for a successful farming venture….a barn full of seed, a partially dug well and general farm implements.
The new farmer borrowed money from the local banker for the purchase of the soil, the well, the barn full of seeds and the farmer pitched a tent. Then the new owner began tapping the well for a deeper water table to sustain the crops and set about planting for the coming season.
Along came a younger farmer who recognized the potential bounty and offered to share the tending of the fields, but the inexperienced share-cropper had no seed to plant.
So, the new owner took half of the purchased seed from the barn and gave it freely to the younger farmer for the ground they shared. Month by month, year by year, the younger farmer leased the land, tilled the soil and enjoyed the harvest from the seeds.
As the young farmer's family grew, the older farmer came along side to “side-dress” the crops with fertilizer when necessary and continued to farm the land in the younger one’s absence.
The owner paid off the loans and the banker was pleased. Folks from miles around knew the farm’s reputation from the produce of their harvests. Other share- croppers came along to farm the available soil and they too, prospered.
One day, after many years, the owner grew much older and weary of the responsibility of the farm. The older farmer saw that the younger farmer had matured and was ready to master the farm alone. An offer was made to sell the farm for merely half the cost of the first seed that had produced such a harvest every year, but the younger farmer was fearful and blind to the value of the farm and the investment of the initial seed that had been shared so long ago.
The gentle older farmer spent time alone and waited to hear what the young share-cropper had decided. It was a testing time of prayer and fasting, a time to remain humble, unselfish and mildly patient while waiting for the young farmer to commit to the purchase of the tents, barns of seeds, and now, the deeply dug well. The other share- croppers were eager and strived to keep the harmony and oneness that bound them all together in peace. They made allowances in their share of the crops because they all loved one another.
Time passed and morning brought the answers. The farmers, old and young, eventually came to understand, accept and embrace their temporary stewardship roles over the fertile soil and all the share-croppers were entrusted to dispense more seed and water from the well to benefit many generations to come…
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