Every fortnight people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life. They hope that you will be encouraged by it.
One of the things that I enjoy in the winter is taking the dog for a walk on a cold frosty morning when the sun is shining, then coming back to a hot cup of coffee as I start work in the study.
When I worked on the farm, however, my perceptions of cold frosty mornings were rather different.
Coming into the milking parlour and finding it frozen, water troughs empty due to frozen pipes and on occasion, having to try and tow start a reluctant tractor on an icy yard. Mind you, there was always a sense of achievement and satisfaction when these hurdles were overcome, the morning work completed and the coffee made! While none of these were major problems they were certainly inconveniences and I can still sympathise with my farming friends when the weather turns cold.
Now, before you start thinking, ‘those ministers have an easy life’ – ungritted country roads are certainly no picnic and I can remember in the big snow of 2010 conducting a service in our local cemetery after helping push the hearse up a hill in temperatures of -14 degrees C. Our opinions of events, and even of people, are often coloured by our own perceptions.
In the Bible Matthew (19:16-30) describes how Jesus met a ‘rich young man’. When other people looked at this man they saw him as wealthy and successful – someone to be envious of as he appeared to have it all. He came to Jesus with a question “What one thing must I do to get eternal life?” Although others saw him as having it all, he knew that something was missing.
When Jesus questioned him about the commandments the young man claimed to have obeyed them. Then when Jesus tells him to sell his possessions and follow Him, we are told the young man “went away sad because he had great wealth.”
The peoples’ perception was of a young man who was rich, successful and lacked nothing; Jesus saw a very different reality. He saw a young man with a desperate need – to know he had eternal life. Each of us also has this great need, which can only be met through personal faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
We may look successful and happy to those around us, but it is how Jesus sees us that is really important. Are we trusting in Him or not? If we are, then we have the confidence of eternal life with God in Heaven.
So whatever your perception of a bright, crisp frosty morning at least it’s better than the rain. Whether your morning coffee follows a pleasant walk, or a lot of extra work and hassle, remember that Jesus sees us as we really are. He sees us with all of our faults and failings, with the sin which is in our lives. Jesus sees the reality, He looks at our hearts and still loves us.
Jesus loves us so much He was prepared to die to give us eternal life and He calls us to take up this life by trusting in Him for salvation. What does Jesus see in you, or me, today?
Rev. David Reid is minister of Ardstraw and Douglas Presbyterian Churches in West Tyrone. He is married to Valerie and they have four children and one grandchild. David was a full-time farmer for 18 years before being called to the Ministry.
If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.
The Farmers’ Mission committee are holding a prayer meeting on Friday 26 January 2018 in Broughshane Community Centre at 8pm to pray for farmers and their families at this very difficult time.
Severe wet weather has made it very difficult to get crops in, many lie destroyed in the field.
Please join the committee members as they bring the farming community before God in prayer.
Taking part will be Timmy Rea and Rev Tom Shaw. Every welcome.