We moved to the farm to plant a ministry, not because we are farmers. We wanted to draw people to the land, where God’s beauty and goodness are apparent to all.
We have made many discoveries along the way that may be commonly understood by other farmers, but which cause our eyes to open in wonder.
One example of such a revelation occurred in the early days of our agricultural adventure. Rick was turning ground that hadn’t been plowed in a while. We would be planting potatoes in land that hadn’t been tilled in years.
There began a steady stream of unexpected and delightful surprises when he would report simply that “something caught my eye in the dirt.”
This typically occurred after a heavy rain. What Rick would have found was a perfectly formed, sharp as a tack, white quartz arrowhead.
Over the years, his prowess at finding Native American artifacts has been challenged by many. Yet he continues to be the only person who actually finds them in our fields.
There is no mistaking these weapons of survival, which were traded for and used by the Susquehannocks, a fierce tribe whose hunting and warpath routes went throughout central Maryland.
Rick has found troves of them — arrowheads, spearpoints, knifepoints, tomahawk heads, beads — dozens of items that appear to be “Smithsonian-worthy.”
Every once in a while, he will bring a specimen into the kitchen and ask me to use my imagination. He says, “look, can’t you see it is a pre-form? — they had fashioned one side but either the other side wasn’t finished or it broke off.”
I can see it, but it is easy to dismiss in the midst of his vast collection of perfectly formed pieces that could kill for supper today if lashed to a good stick.
These episodes always draw our attention to irrefutable truths of scripture and remind us that we are but passers-by on this beautiful planet
“The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field” (Psalm 103:15).
While this truth could be unsettling to some, it brings comfort to consider the sovereignty of God, whose plans are being worked through every generation.
We are not the first stewards of this land, and we won’t be the last. We step up to the responsibility with awe for God’s creation, and we try to honor the call to care for and manage the land and animals over which he has given us dominion.
“And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’ ” (Matthew 25: 20-21).
It is always a thrill to find these artifacts and stop to ponder who walked this land before us — who was it that sat by the stream and sharpened these stones? What was his name? How old was he? What was his story in the chapters of the generations who have come before us?
There comes also a feeling of empathy for Job, when God questioned him. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand’ ” (Job 38:4).
When we struggle in the day to day of hoping and praying for rain, being vigilant about pests and predators, scheduling harvest work and other activities on the farm, we may be tempted to think too highly of ourselves and our plans.
Finding an arrowhead — or more precisely, holding the arrowhead that Rick found — reminds us always that our time is fleeting, and this day is a gift, so we offer it to God for his glory and for the good of his people.
We feel connected to those who walked this ground in centuries past and grateful for the opportunity to share its abundance today.