Grateful for Little

Have you heard, or used, the expression; Something is better than nothing? Try telling that to a farmer or rancher who gets less than one-third of his normal harvest. This year, because of much more rainfall than normal winters and springs, the hay harvest at the Cross-Dubya ranch was delayed by two months. This resulted in losing all of our rich clover and most of the winter rye grass, which headed out and started to wither. It reduced our normal four large round bales per acre harvest to just over one bale per acre.

As we began cutting the hay, I thanked God for the window in the weather. It takes a few days to lay the hay down, let it dry, rake it, and then bale it. Getting five days in a row without rain was a rarity this spring. Three days since any rain had fallen and there were still areas of our fields with standing water. I knew I would get less hay than normal, but prayed I would at least have a large enough harvest I could feed my livestock this winter.

As I looked at the size of the rows coming from the rear of the cutter, then at the combined windrows as I raked them together, my heart sank. I knew I would buy hay again this winter. Last winter, when little hay was available, the law of supply and demand came into play and hay was two or three times its normal cost. In fact, it was more cost effective on my ranch to increase the amount of feed each day to supplement the lack of good hay.

As I sulked about the poor harvest for a few days, the Holy Spirit prompted me to look at things from a different perspective. He reminded me that while I only harvested a small portion of my crop; I wasn’t being thankful for it. Thinking about that, I realized that if the weather hadn’t broken when it did, I would have suffered a total loss if delayed another week. With all the rain, I expect the late spring and summer grasses to have a banner year for growth. That means multiple hay cuttings are possible and the hay supply should be plentiful later this year.

While still disappointed in my harvest, I was more disappointed at my pessimistic attitude and my ungratefulness towards God for all He provided. In that moment, I knew what I needed to do. I bowed my head and begged forgiveness. God showed me, in His loving way, that my expectations, desires, and dreams are not His. He wants me to be grateful for all things in my life, not just when He gives me what I want. God reminded me that the harvest is His, and that He has always provided for me. My job is not to let my expectations get ahead of His plans for my life.

During my prayers, God brought 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to the forefront of my mind. “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” With joyous tears streaming, I had one more thing to thank God for; His patience and willingness to help me learn the lessons He needs me to have so I might grow to become more like Him.

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As God’s lessons sometimes are, this lesson on gratefulness and thanksgiving was a hard lesson for me to learn. Perhaps God makes them difficult because He wants us to remember the high cost for not learning them when He offered them earlier. I pray you allow Him to bring you the lessons He needs for you to learn the first time. Remedial learning hurts.

God’s blessings,

36 thoughts on “Grateful for Little

  1. Society bombards us with so much telling us we “must have it”–Christmas ads in particular– which we will see soon, although it is only July. We are programmed to look at what we don’t have, or have enough of, rather than what we have, and that is much–even if we perceive it is little or not exactly what we want. Thankfulness in all things is a long obedience. I appreciated your post. Yes, remediation can be painful.

    1. I could not agree more Ms. Marilyn. It becomes so important for us to focus on all we have, not all we want. God never promises to give us all we want, but to give us everything we need to live our lives in Him. Thank you for your wisdom and enlightenment my friend. God’s blessings.

  2. I was just thinking today about the tendency we have to say things like the “downside of this circumstance is….” when, if we are living with a heart that looks to be thankful, we could rephrase that as “the upside of this circumstance is…” This encourages us to look for the good. Just as you remind us. Thanks JD!! I hope your late harvest is plentiful.

    1. I agree. I think it “human nature” to look at the downside of things instead of being “future focused” and trying to find the best in every situation. I view doing so as a discipline I need to grow into. Thank you for your great insight Ms. Denise.

    1. Thanks Pastor Roy. Am trying to learn from the best sir. That’s why I follow your and many others’ blogs. God’s blessings sir, and thank you so much for your encouraging words.

    1. I can sure appreciate the “all or nothing” mindset Ms. Kathy. God reminded me during this episode that while He didn’t meet my need the way I thought it needed to be met, He still met my need. He brought rain for a good forage over the summer (at least up to this point), he brought me consulting work to afford to buy the extra hay needed. And He taught me (yet again) the importance of being grateful in all things.

    1. Thanks Ms. Melissa. I wish I could tell you I always turn negatives into positives, but that isn’t always the case. I’m a work in progress though, so I’ll keep trying. You have a blessed and wonder-filled week also ma’am.

  3. I love this JD. Partly because I grew up on the farm and I remember how dependent my dad was on God’s hand through each crop. Such a great reminder of the discipline of thankfulness. I thank you!

    1. It sure is Ms. PJ. It seems I have to learn some lessons from God multiple times before they really take root in my soul and begin to grow. With each time, it seems God plows just a little bit deeper. Am so glad He never gives up on me.

  4. Such a good reminder that whether a little or a lot, it’s still a gift. I read something recently that said something like what if you only receive today iwhat you thanked God for yesterday. Something to think about

    1. It sure is something to think about Ms. Jeanne. I’m convinced sometimes that the most blessed are often the most ungrateful. Am working to change that myself ma’am. God’s blessings; and thank you for your sage wisdom my friend.

  5. I needed this, J.D.! Thank you. Recently, while prepping for people coming over, I began grumbling — and immediately, the Lord brought the verse about being hospitable — without grumbling — to mind. Ouch.

    1. Yes ma’am. I think we all have those “grumbly” moments. Isn’t it wonderful though how the Holy Spirit is with us to help nudge us out of those negative thoughts? For me, that’s my reassurance that I’m His. He cares enough to not let me dwell in sin or negativity.

  6. Farming is such a difficult profession, and I commend you for the hard work it requires and the faith for our Provider to bring the harvest. I loved this point you made: “He wants me to be grateful for all things in my life, not just when He gives me what I want.” I needed to hear that, J.D. He always knows best, but boy, that can be difficult to comprehend! Thank you for what you do, as a farmer, and for the witness you are to others through your work and words.

    1. Thank you Ms. Julie. It truly is a passion for me to work the land and care for all that God provides us with. I find great peace in doing so. You are so kind and encouraging ma’am. Thank you and God’s blessings.

    1. Amen Ms. Candyce. I have that same problem. Something Diane and I have been doing, to try and become better stewards of God’s blessings is to ask ourselves before every purchase “Do we need this or want this? If we say want, we pass. If we say need, we have to explain why to the other.”

  7. Thanks for a great lesson. We need to be thankful
    for what we have, stop grumbling about what we want. God knows our needs and provides for us.

    1. I agree Ms. Joyce. We too often forget that God always keeps His promises and He has always provided what we needed, whether we realized we needed it or not. Thank you ma’am.

  8. I read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 earlier today. In addition to giving thanks in everything, God reminded me to rejoice always and pray without ceasing. Since I desire to be in God’s will, I need to do what He’s asked of me. Thanks, J.D. for another great reminder!

    1. Indeed Ms. LuAnn… In Everything Give Thanks! Such an important thing for all Christians to do. Our battle with worldliness continues I think, but our joy comes from knowing that in the end, we win! Now, if I can only remember that. 🙂 God’s blessings to you and Mr. Kenn my friend.

  9. I caught myself nodding in agreement as I read. This farm girl has experienced weather related losses and the grumbling which seems to always follow. When we’re so blessed, I don’t know why we tend to focus on the negative instead of the good. Your message is a wonderful reminder to be thankful. This week I’ve been grateful for temperatures below 90 degrees!

    1. Thank you Ms. Katherine. Somehow there’s goodness in knowing we’re not alone in our struggles isn’t there ma’am. I’m not sure why we tend to see the negative in situations before we do the good either. I think this is somehow related to the human condition we are all born under since the first Adam’s fall. I am sure you too are grateful how the Holy Spirit can quickly move us to look for the positives in every situation; if you will, to seek the good. God’s blessings ma’am.

  10. I love the lessons the Lord teaches us through nature.
    Like you, I’ve found myself focused on the negative instead of the good. But Scripture, worship, and prayer sure help bring us back around!

    Always enjoy your blog.
    Many blessings!

  11. Honest and vulnerable thoughts, J.D. I’m sorry for your current less-than-normal crop. Yet, thankful for the lesson you so beautifully learned, penned, and passed on to the rest of us! Pray the hay cuttings are plentiful later this year!

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Karen. If I’ve learned nothing else in the many years of living, it’s that God always provides. We’ll be fine this winter ma’am; we just have to learn to be grateful in all things and not just when God gives us what we ask for, in just the way we expect it, but in the way He chooses to bless us.

  12. A lean time always helps me to be more dependent on God. In “fat” times, sometimes I forget that HE is the one who supplies all my needs, and so many of my “wants” too.
    Farmers experience this much more vividly than we city folk. May God bless this small harvest, and indeed give you an abundance later…. to share with those in need.

    1. So very true Ms. Jackie. The point of my post was exactly that ma’am; we must always remember to thank God for all the harvests in our life. They’re His anyway. God’s blessings ma’am. Have I told you how glad I am you’re back from traveling around the world lately? I so look forward to your comments and insights. God’s blessings my friend.

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