Little Is Much

Proverbs 13:23

“Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.”
“A poor man’s field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away.” NIV

We Complain 

Many times we complain about what we don’t have rather than thank God for what we do have. Have you ever complained about how small your house is, how old your car is, or how out of style your clothes are?  Sure you have. And you know, of course, that there are plenty of people out there who don’t even have a roof to sleep under, much less a new car or stylish clothes.

It might be a shock to you, but even pastors (ministers, preachers, bishops) have times when they complain about the “field” they are called to plow. I have done it. I even did it today, right before I read Proverbs 13:23.

We Whine

Today we had a death in our church. The loss of this key member has been a blow to all of our congregation. And being that our numbers are small, the loss of any member is painful, especially when growth has been extremely slow.

At one point I began to feel anxious. I asked God, “How can we grow a church if our younger adults start dying?” I thought to myself, “If we lose many more, we won’t be able to pay our utility bills, not to mention the little I get to feed my family.” For a moment I considered this field too small for even a minimal harvest.

No Excuses

Then I read this proverb. Then I read what the wise Matthew Henry had to say. Then I felt ashamed.

See…[how] a small estate may be improved by industry, so that a man, by making the best of every thing, may live comfortably upon it: Much food is in the tillage of the poor, the poor farmers, that have but a little, but take pains with that little and husband it well. Many make it an excuse for their idleness that they have but a little to work on, a very little to be doing with; but the less compass the field is of the more let the skill and labour of the owner be employed about it, and it will turn to a very good account. Let him dig, and he needs not beg.[1]

Sounds like I need to just get back out in the field and turn the soil, doesn’t it? A small field can be full of produce if worked well and wisely. It is those who complain that let a harvest waste away.

Like the old song says, “Little is much when God is in it...”

Dear Heavenly Father, strengthen our hands and energize our hearts for the work. The fields are truly white unto harvest, so who are we kidding? We just need to work a little harder to bring it in.

[1] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), Pr 13:23.

About Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor/preacher/teacher, musician, and Time Magazine's Person of The Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him! View all posts by Anthony Baker

6 responses to “Little Is Much

  • Men of One Accord

    Thank-you Pastor, I have been having a little whine myself lately see you in the field. Amen James

  • Daniel M. Klem

    My whine as of late has been about God calling me to the next thing for one reason: I never wanted to do it! I will, of course, but I have been whining none-the-less.

    I am also reminded of the last three summers my family lived in a farmhouse. We rented the house from a land owner who had a farmer to work all of the lands she owned. We lived on the smallest farm (with about 500 acres). Over the course of 2000, my family “prayed the prayer” and began attending/serving our church regularly. Then the summers of 2001, 2002, and 2003 had the corn and soybean crops grow at least twice as high than normal (the average height of corn was around 6-7 feet, soybeans was 3-4 feet), with corn growing as tall as 17 feet tall and soybeans 8 feet tall! They were also holding 5-7 times the yield of their respective crop. During those years, our little farm had the largest yields of all of the farms, and it was protected from storms that devestated others. Then we moved, and they crops slowly went back down to “normal”.

    I am not one for any of those prosperity/name-it-and-claim-it gospels, but it is rather interesting that after my family changed our ways and began serving God the crops around our house flourished as they did. It is also interesting that they began to go back to the way they were after we left. We went from doing our own thing to dilligently pursuing God and doing any work He called us to do. It clearly had an effect on our surroundings!

  • backthewaywecame

    Mr Baker (Anthony), this post is such a Wow! for me. I’m going to reblog it. As you may know, my purpose is to train poor subsistence farmers in the Farming God’s Way model. Part of that training includes acknowledging that the land belongs to Yahweh and our response to His Word. I can’t wait to include the above teaching to support the training.

  • backthewaywecame

    Reblogged this on backthewaywecame and commented:
    Before I continue with the story of “Back the way we came”, I was delighted with a post that landed in my mail box today. It filled and warmed my heart. It is exactly what those of us who have been trained in the Farming God’s Way model, teach. It also spoke into the situation I found myself in, in February 2012. Would I continue being faithful to the what Yahweh had called me to, in Mwinilunga, despite the setbacks? The answer was, yes. Would I be willing to concede that the lack of a work permit may have been Yahweh’s will for that time? I struggled with this. Would I grumble and complain because things didn’t work out? For sure. Many, many times I kicked against the pricks. But eventually I succumbed to his Way with me. Soon, all too soon, on the very threshold of returning to Johannesburg, I would be tipped into something that would scare me witless at night. Something that precipitated further training to better prepare me for returning to Mwinilunga.
    Here are Anthony Baker’s thoughts on, “Little is Much.” Essentially, he is saying, work with what you’ve got to the best of your ability, no matter how small the task.

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