The High Calling of a Harvest

October 6, 2010 | 23 comments

My favorite farmer thirsts, so the girls and I trace crackling gravel paths to bring him a drink.

We park by the barbed wire, climb the half-naked hill. And up on this bluff, I feel exposed, too.

A stripping away.

With less of myself, I see more of God.

These fields on the hills are my favorite. Yet they offer the lowest yields. The best of our crops are grown three miles away, on flat, black Iowa ground cultivated by Lee men for more than a century.

But these fields — jubilant fields — follow the curve of the Earth, on hills sculpted by the Father’s hand.

We climb higher still, to the place where Scott combs rows in a cloud of soybean dust. He says he feels close to God here — just like his quiet father before him. And those were the words we used in his father’s obituary: “He felt closest to God on the seat of a John Deere…”

This is holy work, the work of the hands.

And aren’t we all priests ? Don’t we as believers all wear the white robe and the priestly collar under our farm coveralls and our nurses’ scrubs and our postal uniform?

Aren’t we all ordained, to do his work in the world?

I stand at the edge of an altar, while shadows grow long on the bluff. Bean pods are ablaze, like candelabra. And a priest-farmer lays bare this ground. This is his liturgy.

I sing the doxology, because the natural response to a gift is this: gratitude.

I bend knees to the ground, pick up one stray pod from the floor of the sanctuary. I press open the pod at the seam, revealing three creamy pearls.

One pod. Three tiny beans.

Three in one.

When Jesus opens the eyes of the blind, even we who were once doubters see evidence of His good and perfect work.

I partake of a sacramental moment, and drop thanks in the offering plate for this, the vantage point of a Creator who lets us do His work in the world. He lets us!

” … whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
— 1 Corinthians 10:31

I join Ann Voskamp today in her Walk With Him Wednesday series.
Today, we explore “How Are You Seeing Jesus?”
Her words bring me to a place of worship and seeing.

Be Thou Our Vision, Lord.

by | October 6, 2010 | 23 comments


  1. Doug Spurling

    "With less of myself, I see more of God." Beautiful, just beautiful. I feel like I've been to church & I never left the farm!

  2. katdish

    You are so rich, Jennifer. Abounding in grace and gratitude. Thank you for sharing your world and your insights.

  3. Yaya Yarns

    The words, the pictures, the whole thing…BEAUTIFUL!!!

  4. Lisa notes...

    Jennifer, you write so beautifully. This really touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
    "With less of myself, I see more of God."
    "Aren't we all ordained, to do his work in the world?"

    Thank you for making and sharing these excellent points. I love your photos as well. You remind me much of Ann (a huge compliment!).

  5. Candy

    I see the same sights as you do several times during harvest season. You have made me see them with new eyes, clear eyes, joyful eyes. I love Iowa harvests even more now – just because of you. Well, Him, too.

  6. Michelle

    I just bow in awe at the greatness of our Lord.

  7. lynnrush

    Beautiful. The pictures were nice, too.
    Thanks for this.

  8. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Scott will be finished with the beans tonight. Thanks be to God. Last year, we weren't even in the fields yet! The natural response here is just humble gratitude toward a gracious Father.

    I wish I could take each of you out on that hill. It overlooks the Sioux River valley, and it's just astoundingly beautiful to me. When we first moved here, we had considered building our house out there among those hills, but chose to put our home on the paved road instead. Every January, I am reminded that we probably made the right choice. 🙂

  9. Nancy

    I was already loving this–very Wendell Berry-esque, the farmer ordained by God in his calling. Then you just slew me with the three-in-one bean pod. Stunning words, stunning imagery.

  10. Cassandra Frear

    You took me there, in a few words. I stood on the hill with you and saw the curve of the land, shaped by loving hands.

  11. RCUBEs

    Thanks for reminding me of the "right attitude" towards Him….is to be always grateful. So beautiful. God bless.

  12. Lyla Lindquist

    These fields on the hills are my favorite. Yet they offer the lowest yields.

    If this hill is where He strips away, then I might wonder if the richest yields are to be found right here. It seems, anyway, that He's found Himself quite a harvest.

  13. Jeanne Damoff

    I don't always take the time to comment, but I want you to know I love your thoughts and the words you use to express them. Reading your posts is like pausing in the midst of the daily madness to sip that cool water you take to your favorite farmer. Thank you.

    Love, Jeanne

  14. Crystal

    I followed your link from Ann's blog and am so happy to find you. We too are farmers, in Canada, so I feel quite at home here 🙂 And the words you used in the eulogy would apply to my father too. It's good to read that your harvest is going well. We are very late here but God is providing marvelous sunny days this week. And we indeed have reasons to celebrate His daily presence as we gather for Thanksgiving this weekend. Thank you for writing so profoundly.

  15. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    @ Crystal — God's blessings to you as you do His work on those fields. Thanking God for your sunny skies. May the sun shine warm on your backs and your faces.

    @ Jeanne — You encourage me.

    @ Lyla — Love that thought. Love, love, love it. I put that line in there — about the lowest yields — and I didn't quite know why. Now, I do. Thank you for helping me see.

    @ All of you — You are kind, good people. Thank you for your words here, for celebrating this harvest with us.

  16. Krista

    I love this. I love how you weave the soul of High Calling into your every day life. I love the description of your everyday life, and I admire you and your man for working the earth.

    It's a pleasure to have discovered you… I hope to see more of you.

  17. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    @ Lisa notes — Indeed, your compliment is huge, but I have to say quite undeserved. (That doesn't sound very gracious of me, Lisa, and I hope it doesn't come out the wrong way, but I feel so ill-equipped as a writer.)

    The incomparable Ann V. is one of my writing heroes, and I learn much from her. Yet, I still plod along these keys clumsily, like a dancer with two left feet. She is a Ballerina.

    I got to spend the weekend with Ann V. at a writers retreat through The High Calling this weekend. And may I say: She's even more delightful in person. We talked a lot about our love of words … but I found it rather humorous that we spent much of our time talking about hogs and soybean fields! 🙂

    Thank you, Lisa, for your generous words.

  18. A Simple Country Girl

    I think you are wrong here. All wrong. Your writing is most certainly nothing akin to dancing with 2 left feet.

    Just keep on dancing to the beat He sings… a tango or waltz perhaps? Me? Well, my writing dance is more like a cha-cha or a 2-step.


  19. Jennifer

    The lowest yield but the greatest beauty–love this. Why is it that we always tend to equate yield with what God wants? God wants us, our obedience, our sacrifice–that's success, not how many "Christians" our work yields.

  20. Lindy

    I love that "with less of myself I see more of God". Even tonight as I was driving home in the dark, I could tell it was different. And that's good!

  21. David Rupert

    JGDWJ— I have recently been planting in my yard some bulbs. It's a spiritual excercise of sorts.
    And I can hardly wait for the days of harvest

  22. Stephani

    The three in one. I can see it so clearly.

  23. Sara

    Wow–I will not look at a farmer harvesting his fields in the same way again! What a beautiful testimony and tribute.


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