I drive past his land every day. It’s part of my journey to work. I hang a right where the road makes a T and the land stretches almost all the way to Madison Cross Roads Elementary. Right now is my favorite time to drive through their actually. It’s amazing to see how fast those cornfields pop up. Seems almost overnight.
I don’t know much about farming. My mom used to take us to J and J Berry Farm just outside of Tullahoma, Tennessee when I was growing up. They had rows and rows of berries. We would choose a row and get to work, picking the berries, cleaning out the weeds, whatever needed to be done. The rows were priced $10, $20, sometimes $30. When you finished the row, you got paid. That’s about all I can tell you about it.
I have learned how much of an agricultural community Toney, Alabama is. There are quite a few farms around and some that do extremely well. But there are some that really stand out to me. His is one of them. Every now and then I get a call to come out. I pull my pickup truck inside that barn and they drop a box on a pallet loaded to the top with fresh ears of corn for me to haul back to the House of the Harvest and give out to our community. Then he’ll say, “I got a spot out there if y’all want to go out there and pick it. Just give me a holler and I will show you where it is.”
There is another lady that does the same. Calls me just about every week in the late summer and fall. “Come pick up squash for Saturday.” Eight hundred pound boxes of squash. Sometimes nine hundred pounds. Sometimes twice that much. And apples. Lots of apples from a place just down the road. We even have people that donate out of their own gardens in their backyards. It’s an honor to be able to witness it firsthand.
It’s actually a Biblical principle. From the book of Leviticus, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigners residing among you. I am the Lord your God.”
Almost 3500 years ago, God asked the Israelites to give of every harvest for the poor and the strangers. It was a principle that He desired for His people to live by. A principle that stands the test of time. What if every society took these words to heart? What if we all gave of our harvest to take care of the needy and strangers among us? What would that world look like?
I love picking up the corn, squash, apples, whatever else that God puts on the hearts of His children to provide. Even more, I just love driving by that cornfield every morning and evening. It reminds that I live in a community. A place where the wealthy care about the poor. A place where the Spirit of God still moves the farmer to give from his harvest. A place where the weak are loved by the strong.
That’s a place I want to be. There’s not a whole lot of places like that any more.
“He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9