I don't worry much. Christ points to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field in Matthew 6:25-34 and basically says "These things aren't worth as much to me as you are, yet I clothe and feed them. Take it easy, pal, I've got your back." I tend to live my life keeping these words in mind. I don't get too wrapped up about things because in the short time that I've lived, I've learned that Christ always takes care of things. I constantly tell people not to worry, everything will work out one way or another. You're most likely still going to be alive, and Christ will still love you.
I've been thinking about Christ's words quite a bit in the last few months. I got married lately, moved into a house that I rent, and make enough money to pay the bills. What's to worry about, you ask?
Shay and I both want kids, and depending on which one of us you ask, we want anywhere from three to nine of the little buggers. I don't worry about raising them so much (there are plenty of people around willing to teach me how to do that). No, I worry about providing for them.
I currently farm approximately 200 acres. That's plenty for Shay and I, but I feel the need to expand. The only problem is there's not much room for expansion in the area. I went and looked at 155 acres for sale today that is priced at $3300 an acre. For those that don't want to do the math, that's over a half of a million bones. To be honest, it's probably not even worth $2500/acre. The land market is nuts these days and I don't really see it going down anytime soon. Renting ground is an option, but that's hard to find as well.
I worry about land because I want to be able to build Shay and our children a house they need and deserve. I want to plant a bunch of trees and have a big yard and watch the kids run around with the dogs while I drink coffee on the porch. Maybe that's a lot to ask, but I don't really think so. I'm trying to find the line between being greedy about finding land and providing for my family. There's a piece of ground coming up for sale that would be perfect - 140 acres of good crop ground with a 20 acre farmstead. The farmstead is run down, but that doesn't bother me. I could build on that. What bothers me is that whoever buys it (there are three or four people I have in mind) already farms multiple thousands of acres, and will most likely tear down the farmstead to farm another 20 acres. I wish people could see that it would be good to have another young farm family in the area. I worry that 10 years from now I'll have to put my degree to use. That's not what I want. I want nothing more than to farm for 40 more years, hang it up, and hand it off to my son or grandson. Will this happen? I don't really know. Am I being greedy? I don't think so.
I'm not good at following my own advice. I just need to shut up, pray, and let things work out the way they will. The thought that I might not farm the rest of my life terrifies me. It's all I've know, and really, it's all I want to do. A neighbor told me when I came back from school that he figured I wouldn't become a teacher or a pastor because I "have farming in my blood." He's right, I think. Very seldom do I wake up and not want to go to work. I really do love what I do. There are bad days and things I don't really enjoy about it, but I think that goes with every job.
I hope this doesn't come across as whiny. That's not what I'm trying to attempt. I was just bummed when I looked at that $3300 piece of ground. I was considering trying to buy it. It's available and relatively close to some ground my dad farms. It's not good enough, though, and I can't afford it. I get a little depressed because I wonder if I'll ever be able to afford good ground. I wonder if I'll be able to build Shay the house that she wants. I wonder if I'll be able to afford to support our kids the way I want to support them.
Through all of this worry, I remember what Christ says - "I've got your back, Ben. You're important to me. Follow me, and I will take care of you." I know that he's going to take care of our children as well. Someone told me that you'll never have enough money to have kids, and I'm guessing that's true. People make it though, and there are some great kids in this world being raised by Christian parents. Doesn't seem like a coincidence to me.
I hope that whatever your worries, you remember this message. Although I seem downtrodden, I'm not. If this mean bastard of a world gets me down, I remember it's not the only thing I live for. There are better things ahead. Keep your heads up, followers of Christ.