Nov 10, 2011

Motorcycles, Coffee, and the Eye of the Farmer

By Larry Houghton 

The day had started out like most Fall mornings, with frost heavy on the last of the green grass. Lawn chairs now look out of place sitting lonely in the back yard. The vine winding its way through the fence is covered In a silvery coat of what is to come.

I sometimes find it difficult to ignore the whispers of winter yet refuse to accept it as my future. Then one day I awake to find a cold suffocating blanket of white death has conquered the last warriors of warmth and buried them where they will remain until winter moves on. 

Now, I am fully aware that this blanket of depression to me is someone else’s prize of winter bliss. But I must be honest with myself and those reading this and proclaim that I am a southern boy and don’t mind telling you that winter is a struggle for me. So, this particular morning I am thrilled that the forecast tells me that the sun will hold off winter for yet another day and allow me to roll the bike out of the garage and ride.

A few hours pass while a handful of bikers sit in the clubhouse and sip coffee and share stories and struggles while the suns warmth raises the temps to an expectable riding level. Then it’s down the road we go, headed to a small cafe that makes a very good bowl of soup. I find myself looking forward to the warmth of the café as the east wind creeps its way through my jacket and gloves. The leather vest is little protection from the biting sting of cold as it fights to get to the skin hiding under the layers of leather and cloth. Somehow I still find the ride fun and exhilarating. I always feel so alive and free when I am riding the last few rides of the season. As if I have stolen back the day from the would be thief. 

Most of the fields have been harvested leaving the rolling hills lying naked and open. Broken stalks and empty cornhusks litter the ground where just a few weeks ago perfectly planted rows of crop stood tall. The ground seems to be waiting for the cold northern air to bring the blanket that will cover it for the next 4-5 months.

As our motorcycles thunder down the road I consider the sowing and reaping ritual of the farmer who prepared the soil and then carefully placed the seed in the ground. Did he consider the orchestrated effort of the soil and seed fighting the elements to yield a crop? Do I consider the orchestration of sowing and reaping that plays out in my life?

I ponder how I spend little time sowing the love of Jesus and then wonder why the harvest is so spars. What seed am I sowing. Am I sowing a crop worth harvesting or am I actually planting those weeds of doubt and thistles of pain in peoples life?

I think we all go through life planting seed of some kind. I'm afraid however; I too often plant seeds of doubt or fear and then drown them with torrential storms of worry and complaints.
I question whether I keep my eyes open for good soil that God has prepared where I could plant a seed of hope. 

Jesus said we often harvest a crop that we did not labor to sow; what a blessing to share in the harvest. To know that we might play a part in someone finding the love of God in the day is such a blessing. 

So in the future, as I travel life’s road as it twists through the fields of coworkers and neighbors. I pray that God open my eyes to see the fields white with harvest; to know when the time is right to plant and when to reap; to water with words of encouragement and hope.

The sun seems warm on my back now as we roll to a stop in the small cafe parking lot. Just inside the door I can see folks sipping coffee and enjoying a hot bowl of soup. I silently ask God for wisdom and the eye of the farmer. 

Always ride the narrow road and stop in and see us again.
- Larry

© 2011 Larry Houghton     ALL RIGHTS RESERVED USED WITH PERMISSION                               


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