Monday Manna

10 Rules For Successful Farming – And Living

By Ken Korkow
• September 25, 2023

Although I enjoyed a successful career in real estate for a number of years, the influence of growing up on a farm has never left me. My family still owns a ranch in Pierre, South Dakota, U.S.A., and I return there often. In that relatively quiet agricultural setting, among cows, bulls, horses, and other livestock, I learned many important lessons.

Among those are what I call the “10 Rules for Successful Farming – and Living.” I think you will be amazed and enlightened when you read them, so here are all 10 of them:
#1. Do your work when it needs to be done. #2. Do your work when it needs to be done.
#3. Do your work when it needs to be done. #4. Do your work when it needs to be done.
#5. Do your work when it needs to be done. #6. Do your work when it needs to be done.
#7. Do your work when it needs to be done. #8. Do your work when it needs to be done.
#9. Do your work when it needs to be done. #10. Do your work when it needs to be done.

While I no longer work and live full-time on a farm, the 10 “rules” listed above continue to serve as a reminder and motivation for how I should approach my responsibilities every day. Looking at my daily “To Do” list, I often realize it contains more than I can possibly get done. And yet, I feel that everything on my list is important and needs to be accomplished. There are no optional or frivolous items on my list.

The question is, then, how can I possibly get all of these important things done? Do I get up earlier than usual – and I rise early in the morning already – and work longer into the night? Experience has taught me this is not the solution. A better approach is to take everything I need to do to the Lord and trust Him to enable me to accomplish what must be done.

Psalm 127:2 gives us this insight: “It is vain for you to rise early, to retire late, to eat the bread of anxious labors — for He gives [blessings] to His beloved even in [their] sleep” (Amplified Version). Work on a farm, work in an office, and work in the home – in each case, there will always be more to do than there seems time for getting it done. Relying on God, we find the strength and capacity to accomplish it.

This does not mean we stay in bed or sit idly at our desk and expect the Lord to accomplish our tasks without our help. I have found much wisdom in the perspective offered by theologian Martin Luther: “Pray like it all depends on God, then when you are done, go work like it all depends on you.” He also said, “I have so much to do today, I will need to spend another hour on my knees (in prayer).”

Many times I have been forced to spend extra time in God’s Word and prayer – and then go through the rest of the day striving to focus on the next ‘one thing’ as He directed. In taking this approach, I seek to be a ‘God-pleaser’ rather than ‘people-pleaser’ or ‘self-pleaser.’ This, I have learned, helps to take some of the pressure off, to reduce the stress of daily responsibilities. If I take the attitude that all I do ultimately is for God’s glory, I can be assured He will be with me and empower me to do what must be done.

Colossians 3:23-24 expresses this clearly: “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” We are to work “as unto the Lord” in everything we do. May I (and you) finish this day well – for His glory and the benefit of others.

Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

1. What is your reaction to the “10 Rules for Successful Farming – and Living”?

2. How do you typically approach a day when after looking at your schedule and deadlines, you realize there is more that needs to be done than you could possibly accomplish? Do you panic, grumble, and complain, or what?

3. Do you believe prayer and trusting in God can reduce the pressure and stress of a demanding job? Why or why not? If you do believe that, can you give any examples?

4. What does it mean to “work as for the Lord rather than for men”? Do you think adopting this attitude would make the work you do – and how you do it – look different? Explain your answer.

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Proverbs 12:24, 14:23, 24:27; Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, 4:9-12, 9:10; Colossians 3:17