This morning was an early public start as I joined the Wyoming Stock Growers Association for their annual prayer breakfast. As I have been in Wyoming now for three and a half years, I appreciated the invitation to offer an inspirational message this morning.
I am becoming more aware of a disturbing reality in our world today, and that is how separated people are from their use of energy and their knowledge and understanding of where that energy comes from. The same is true of food. People have little perception or appreciation for where food comes from and the people and the varied processes it takes to put meals before them.
My presentation this morning drew upon the reality of creation. It seems the best avenue for having a better understanding of energy and food, is to have a greater consciousness regarding creation. And the best way to grow in one’s understanding of creation is to grow in right relationship with the Creator. I spent quite a bit of time this week reflecting on the Creation account of the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis, and this served as the source of my presentation this morning.
Ranchers have been entrusted with a tremendous gift with the lands and streams they manage, along with the herds of cattle, horses and flocks of sheep. I have often admired the way of life of ranchers and farmers. People who make their living from the land have a unique opportunity to work hand-in-hand with God, and in the process learn much about the natural cycle of life and death, in a way that leads to a deep appreciation for the dignity and sanctity for all of life and creation.
For example, my neighbor back in Indiana had a mare that was due to foal any day. As he did not have any stallions on his place, I asked him, “what are you expecting?” He said: “I don’t know, but I hope it is a Bobcat with implements.” Now, we all know that Bobcats do not come from horses. Stock growers and their knowledge of husbandry know colts come from horses and calves come from cows. If we as a human family could come to the same appreciation and respect that women give birth to babies, and not anything else.
The regularity and harmony of nature is a beauty and wonder all by itself. The regular cycle of sunrise and sunset and seasons tell us of the constancy and Providence of God. These consistent realities of nature tell us that we can trust God. Indeed, the Psalms say: “the just man places his trust in God.”
At the same time, we know that nature can be quite harsh and demanding. Spring snow storms can take the lives of newly born livestock, even some of the mature animals. Drought, which is a regular part of life in the West also takes a toll. These difficult realities of nature tell us that we do not and will not experience the fullness of God’s Kingdom in this life. They are reminders that Life resides in its fullness only in God, and that we are God’s servants. He is not ours.
Finally, I shared some of my experience from a cattle drive last July. There was a young boy who rode with us that day, and he was a genius with a horse. He was so in union with his horse that he could get that horse to do whatever he wanted, and thus move the cattle wherever he needed them to go.
This is a great analogy for us. We are to be in such an intimate communion with God, that we are doing His work, His will, according to His laws and ways.
I invited those present to realize that God envisioned them from the beginning of time. He knew He would entrust to them their present ‘piece of heaven’ in this particular period of salvation history. I challenged them to be good stewards of their piece of God’s creation. Be collaborators of God. Allow faith to inform the way they manage the land and relate with their family and workers. What they have is about far more than profit; it is about a way of life. Treat your workers with respect and pay them a decent wage, so that they may enjoy this way of life and provide for their families.
We are called to live in right relationship with God, with God’s creation, and with our neighbor. Thus we keep the great commandment of Jesus, to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. God created everything to be in complete harmony. If and when we seek first harmony with God, greater harmony with God’s people and God’s creation will more easily be accomplished.