Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3–5)
One of the great joys of moving into this rural corner of Eden is getting to know something about the practice of farming. I don’t pretend to know anything about agriculture but at times farmers have been kind enough to try and drum sense into my urban head. I’ve stood in a pit in a milking parlour, looking up at the assembled backsides of cattle. I’ve found out about diversification, and the swings in prices of grain. I’ve heard about beet production in the 1950s, but most of my knowledge has come from conversations with Norman Williams as we stood chatting in the porch of St Georges after a service.
At one stage the subject of orchards came up. As far as I was concerned this was a pretty straightforward matter: you plant trees, wait a few years and then flog your apples to Westons. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty, it turns out. As Norman put it: “don’t look to the trees for the rent”!
It turns out that sheep farming is a more complicated affair, too. Rather than just parking the sheep in a field and then waiting to sell them on at a great profit, it turns out that the pricing is low and the sheep have a worrying tendency to keel over and die. Not for any particular reason, it just seems to be something they do.
What a great blessing it is to be able to look to heaven for our future! Rather than worrying about crops, yields and the market we have “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading”. It’s “kept in heaven for you”. No doubts, no concerns, no worries and no sleepless nights. It’s there. It will come.
We might not be able to look to the trees, but we can look to God.