DES MOINES, Iowa (BP)–The editor of a popular magazine for farmers has compiled a calendar based on photos of agriculture and verses in the Bible that use farm language, envisioning it as an evangelistic tool as well as an encouragement to those who love God and love to farm.
“Firstfruits: The Bible’s farm-grown wisdom for daily living” is available as a 12-month wall calendar, a 365-day perpetual desk calendar and a boxed set of 52 prayer cards.
“I’ve always been intrigued as someone who loves the Lord and loves farming that so much of God’s message to man was written in farming language in the Bible,” Loren Kruse, editor of Successful Farming and author of the Firstfruits materials, told Baptist Press.
Kruse explained that about 10 years ago, while reading through the Bible, he started marking each verse pertaining to farming. The total came to 443, and it became his dream to compile a devotional he could give to the Fellowship of Christian Farmers, a group he belongs to and greatly admires.
As time went along, he said, the company he works for, Meredith Corporation, which also publishes magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal, decided to venture into spiritual publishing.
“I was encouraged by those who sort of knew where my heart was on this to go ahead and do it,” Kruse said. “I took the verses and organized them into 12 themes — one for each month — and through that whole process found additional verses that I had missed along the way.”
The finished product is composed of 12 colorful photographs that have been published in various issues of Successful Farming, and each photograph corresponds with a verse and accompanying commentary.
The month of March, for example, is illustrated with the silhouettes of cattle standing on a hill at sunset. The verse on the wall calendar is Psalm 50:9-10: “I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills.” Below the verse are the words: “God owns everything. By His grace we are stewards of the fullness of the earth.”
September’s photograph is of a cluster of bright red cherries on a tree, and the verse is Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” The commentary states, “With thankful hearts, we owe our best to God our Creator.”
Kruse said he is pleased with the results of the calendar so far.
“I’ve been really blessed by it and really have enjoyed the feedback, particularly from farmers who sort of knew there are a lot of verses that have to do with farming, but when you look at one right after another it’s pretty special for those who love farming and love the Lord,” he said.
Kruse has been editor in chief of Successful Farming since 1988, and he said the magazine has a long history of speaking out about faith. A particular breakthrough came in 1990 when the same issue carried a story about 20 farmers on a work mission in Mexico and a story about a farmer in Maryland who spoke articulately about his faith and what it meant to him in farming.
The magazine received hundreds of response letters from farmers who were thrilled to see what they called a secular magazine addressing such issues, Kruse said. Since that time, the magazine publishes at least one story each year promoting work missions of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers.
A high percentage of farmers who have participated in FCF work missions have done so because they were informed about them through Successful Farming, Kruse said. Those farmers then went back to their communities with new inspiration and dedication.
One dollar of the profit from each Firstfruits calendar will go to the fellowship.
Kruse said he hopes people will use the calendars as a witnessing tool by giving them to fellow believing farmers for encouragement or to nonbelievers as a way to let them know God speaks their language.
“I hope believers, particularly those who are connected to the farm, are encouraged that God used all the things that they’re familiar with to tell His message,” Kruse said.
For further information about Firstfruits, call 1-800-678-5752 or visit farmhomecollection.com.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: LIVESTOCK, SEEDTIME and FIRSTFRUITS.