1037) Wait and See

An old Jewish folktale as retold in The Book of Virtues, ed. by William Bennett, pages 774-5, 1993.

     Once there were two young brothers who had spent all their lives in the city, and had never even seen a field or pasture.  So one day they decided to take a trip into the countryside.  As they were walking along, they spied a farmer plowing, and were puzzled about what he was doing.

     “What kind of behavior is this?” they asked themselves.  “This fellow marches back and forth all day, scarring the earth with long ditches.  Why should anyone destroy such a pretty meadow like that?”

     Later in the afternoon they passed, the same place again, and this time they saw the farmer sowing grains of wheat in the furrows.

     “Now what’s he doing?” they asked themselves.  “He must be a madman.  He’s taking perfectly good wheat and tossing it into these ditches!”

     “The country is no place for me,” said one of the brothers.  “The people here act as if they had no sense.  I’m going home.”  And he went back to the city.

     But the second brother stayed in the country, and a few weeks later saw a wonderful change.  Fresh green shoots began to cover the field with a lushness he had never imagined.  He quickly wrote to his brother and told him to hurry back to see the miraculous growth. 

     So his brother returned from the city, and he too was amazed at the change.  As the days passed they saw the green earth turn into a golden field of tall wheat.  And now they understood the reason for the farmer’s work.

    Then the wheat grew ripe, and the farmer came with his scythe and began to cut it down.  The brother who had returned from the city couldn’t believe it.  “What is this imbecile doing now?” he exclaimed.  “All summer long he worked so hard to grow this beautiful wheat, and now he’s destroying it with his own hands!  He is a madman after all!  I’ve had enough.  I’m going back to the city.”

     But his brother had more patience.  He stayed in the country and watched the farmer collect the wheat and take it to his granary.  He saw how cleverly he separated the chaff, and how carefully he stored the rest.  And he was filled with awe when he realized that by sowing a bag of seed, the farmer had harvested a whole field of grain.  Only then did he truly understand that the farmer had a reason for everything he did.

     “And this is how it is with God’s works, too,” he said.  “We mortals see only the beginnings of His plan.  We cannot understand the full purpose and end of His creation.  So we must have faith in His wisdom.”

*******************************************************

James 5:7-8  —  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Psalm 46:8a…10  —  Come, behold the works of the Lord…  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Job 37:14b  —  …Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

Psalm 37:7a  —  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…

Isaiah 55:8-9  —  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.   For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

*******************************************************

Take from us, O God, all impatience and unquietness; and let us learn to patiently trust in your ways, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

–Jeremy Taylor

Advertisements