Nate loves to garden. One of his happiest days of the year is when his seeds arrive—in January no less. I’ve watched him crank up his rototiller and till up half his backyard. I’ve also canned tomatoes with him, ate his sweet corn, and been the recipient of his hot peppers. He may be a policeman by night, but he’s a farmer by day. He also loves animals. At the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Kansas, I’ve watched him scratch a little calf’s nose, while holding tiny Elliott and encouraging her to do the same. It’s no wonder she loves animals the way she does. She spends most of her day hugging her dog.
And there’s something just natural and good about digging in the soil and tending animals. It’s so much related to humanity that in English we have a word for it, husbandry. Now, that’s a word we don’t hear much nowadays.
Cain and Abel were farmers back in a time when there was no doubt about who God is. Though they were fallen in nature, God talked right to them. And they brought God offerings—offerings that were both a blessing from God and the result of their hard work.
It’s much the same today, really. We should use our gifts, which are from God, to serve God. So often we just get busy working and using our gifts that it’s easy to forget that the things we do well are blessings from God. Everyone has things they love to do and are good at, even though mine don’t include growing a great garden. But, it’s important to remember to be grateful for the talents that we have and not to use them just for our own benefit.
And blessings from God should be developed through our hard work. As a teacher, nothing frustrates me more than a smart, lazy kid. Developing our talents to use to help others has a way of making us happy. It’s kind of funny. It seems like if we only do things for ourselves it would make us happy, but it doesn’t.
Nate enjoys working in his garden, and he really enjoys having the kids tag behind him and showing them how things grow. It’s a good thing to recognize blessings from God. Tragically, it was something Cain forgot.