BREAD DEPENDS ON TIME
Man has found time for everything, except enough time for the earth to recover from being exploited and abused. The Preacher came to the following conclusion, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to cut down (harvest); a time to hurt, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;’ ‘It is God’s gift that every men should eat and drink and be pleased in what he does’”(Ecc. 3:1-3,13). In order to live, man has to spend time with the earth (Gen. 1:28-30).
Bread does not grow over night. Rye bread requires three seasons and wheat two. Edible bread does not last even if it is refrigerated. It ages quickly and bakers bake only what they can sell. We lived during the days when we were thankful to get some of the bread that could not be sold and was fed to animals. Back in Poland, before we became refugees, grandmother would bake fresh bread every second day. We stored grain from the harvest and had it grinded into flour, and even flour had a time limit how long it could be stored, even in colder climate. We used potatoes more than bread and we learned how to store them from harvest time to harvest time. But when we cooked or fried potatoes and put a little Sauer cream or jam on and let it stand in the sun or warm weather and then eat it, we did not feel too well. One time we fed some potato salad to the chickens, they stumbled and behaved drunk.
Modern technology has overcome instant food deterioration but not the time it needs to grow bread. Gasses and hormones have hastened the growth process, but they cannot change the seasons crops require to mature to a point where they induce health rather than diseases. Recently, one of our three daughters-in-laws brought us some tomatoes she raised on he roof garden. They tasted delicious and I ate several with just a little salt. We go to the store and we have to put on additives to give taste to these tomatoes. We go to Farmers Markets where they claim that they grow their vegetable organically, but the taste denies their claims. The soil they use lacks the resilience to allow the seed to produce healthy vegetables. Our Creator endowed us with taste buds to determine whether the food we eat is edible and healthy. Our modern intake of food is a far cry from the food I ate during my first twenty-one years as a farmer eating off the land without chemicals and before the crops had time to ripen.
We enjoyed healthy and rich produce because the ground was fertile and alive. It did not fertilize by itself. From my ancestors I learned to use all refuse, animal and human, liquid and solids and plow it under just after harvest time and let it deteriorate until spring then plant beats, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables. On the second year, I seeded rye or wheat, on the third year barley, flax, sunflowers and many other things. Then on the fourth year we seeded oats, alfalfa and clover. On the fifth year we let the cattle graze the field and on the sixth year we repeated the cycle on the same piece of land. Not all the land was suitable and we had to bring in soil and manure to make it productive. For the soil to regain its strength, it needed between four to six years to heal and recover. If the soil is not given time to rest or fed nourishment, it stops producing. It is noteworthy to tune in on Moses who reminded his people that in order to stay settled in one area, they had to rest and care for the land (Lev. 25).
I immigrated to Canada as a farmhand and I did harvest in Manitoba where the growing season is short but very potent. Nature puts out an awesome amount of energy and some grain does mature like barley and oaths. But rye and wheat are cut while still green and the stock provides enough energy to ripen the seed and it can be trashed later. The stock or the plant depends on the soil and I noticed that the harvesting was spars. The land was exhausted and no longer had the energy to produce healthy stock for the grain to ripen. The farmer had too much land to replenish the soil from his six cows, to horses, a few pigs, some chickens and four humans. The land I cultivated had dried out like sand. He produced no vegetable, only grain and he did not match his output with our less than a one hundred acre farm in Poland. Dried out land requires more than water to become useful for plants and seeds to grow. In fact, water without solid additives can turn the soil into clay and become hard as a stone. Then the farmer has to seed a number of crops and plough them under repeatedly until the soil fully recovers for use. Again, that takes time and the modern mentality against refuse makes it unlikely that the bread supply will meet the human need. Who wants to haul tankers of refuse from cities to spread it on land to raise bread when it is no longer sanitary?
My people were Bible believing land folk and so am I. We spend most of our time with the land. The Bible tells us that the earth is groaning for deliverance and it is up to us to deliver it from human oppression and profiteering (Ro. 8:22). It also tells us that the land is cursed and it needs the human hand to deliver it from thorns and thistles and turn it into a blessing by producing edible food (Gen. 3:17-19). Un-subdued ground will not by itself become useful, rather it will grow into a jungle unfit for habitat, for man or animals. I have seen a forest cleared into virgin land grow wheat in abundance in Northern Manitoba. My mother’s brother had settled there just before World War II and he took me to one of his wheat fields and indicated proudly that it would bring in five thousand Dollars that is about a hundred thousand today. Fifteen years later, I revisited the area and only two families were still farming thousands of acres with big machinery and one was the husband of my uncle’s daughter, my cousin. In the winter, he ran a lumber camp to subsidize his huge farm and create more virgin land for new crops and let huge areas rest. He had to seed and plant grasses and shelters to stop erosion from floods and storms to prevent the land from turning into a desert or back into a jungle. It is an endless and time – consuming process to keep land arable. Grasses and shrubs alone will no replenish the earth, nor will chemicals. The earth cries out for natural nourishments that decompose and returns to earth or dust very much like man himself (Gen. 3:19).
Man has forced his ways on the earth and he is the one that ends up facing the consequences. The Bible speaks of a time when huge devastations shall occur and men will long to die (Rev. 9:6). There is a view that the earth will melt away and a new earth is forthcoming (II Pe. 3:10; Rev. 21:1). Those that continue to mismanage and profit from the earth try to convince us that the sun is heating up and is melting the icebergs. The Bible disagrees and blames man for having failed to apply the same moral principles to the earth that are relevant to man. What man has done and continues to do to himself he has and is doing to the earth. It is the law of blessing and cursing or cause and effect. That, according to Moses is the Law of the Creator (Deut. 28). The first world powerful system was Babylon (Gen. 10:10) and so will be the last world powerhouse (Rev. 17-18). The first Babylon and many like it have crumbled into ashes and so will the last one by their own human hands. They began as power hungry profiteering marauders and died because they could not feed their followers. The need for bread has and will have the final word on life on earth.
I am a small example of a larger picture the way man treats the earth. Three generations ate bread from one farm that the Soviets tore down and turned into a military shooting range during a time when thousands of Ukrainians starved to death. The Soviet ideology took away the right from an individual to raise his own bread and place it in the hands of a pencil pusher that could not tell a bull from a cow. The earth has a more insidious enemy that parades as its guarding, namely the environmentalist. He labors under the assumption that nature can take care of itself and that man must be regulated what land he can use; but when they need money to pay their own salaries, the law goes out of the window. I have had encounters with these guardians of the land. A bird dropped a seed and I lost have a lot to wetland where there never was a drop of standing water. I could not built three more homes for my children, but a builder could build over thirty homes to increase county revenue. For ten years now I am engaged in fighting ivy and blackberries from chocking other plants. Aging and illness have kept us from nourishing and feeding our garden and the earth has tried out and weeds have invaded even the greenhouse. Our lawn has fallen prey to clover, crabgrass and moss. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We have not taken time and kept our property productive and in shape.
Our time is very similar to the days of Jeremiah the prophet 625 to 580 B. C. when his generation ran out of time. He left us these words, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jer. 8:20). Martin Luther understood the word “saved” as “Help has not come.” It is actually a reference to a deliverer or a Jeshuah that had not come. Jeremiah’s generation had not prepared for an extended emergency and the Babylonians simply starved them out and exiled them to Babylon. The same thing happened to the Jews under the Romans; they were starved out and fled the country and the land that was to be the praise of the world became a desert (Jer. 22:6-12). Man has not paid his dues to the earth and he is running out of time to save the earth by saving himself. Jeremiah’s people were allowed to liver in Babylon, my people were not allowed to live in communist Russia. I could flee to America. Where to can my grandchildren flee?