The Parable of Farmer Jim
Saturday, August 29th, 2015 2:25pm

There once was a farmer named Jim who ran a simple, humble farm on the edge of the little village of Dorston Way. Every day he rose with the sun and tended his farm, feeding his animals, tending his crops and seeing to the maintenance of his equipment and buildings. He was a quiet man and didn't say much, but faithfully went about his duties every day with neither pomp, nor fanfare. One day a servant of the king came and announced that he, the king, would come soon, on a day that no man knew, to inspect the village and award his servants according to their works. Those who did the best would be awarded the most. However, they were to be aware that nobody knew, not even him, the exact date when the king would come, so all should remain busy until the king came. At first everyone obeyed this command and went about their work eagerly, putting their full energy into the their work to show themselves worthy to the king.

Everyone, that is, except farmer Jim. He already put his best into every day, always seeking to make his farm as good as his simple hands could make it. However, as time went on hard work and careful responsibility were replaced by the adorning of barns and the dressing up animals in silly outfits and crazy hairdos in an effort to impress the king when he came that year. But time passed, winter came, and yet the king didn't come. Eventually time and the weather dulled the paint on the barns and caused the animals to lose their manufactured beauty, leaving them looking worse than they had before. But nothing changed at Jim's place. Thing were pretty much as they had been from the start. From the day he took ownership of his farm, although his ways were clumsy at first, he'd worked hard to be the best farmer he could be. Not the prettiest or the fanciest, but rather simply the best he could be at the occupation he'd chosen to undertake.

The following spring another man, one who claimed to be a servant of the king, but clearly a man with other motives in mind, arrived in the village and declared great things to them. "The king is coming! Prepare ye the way of your lord!" he cried. And the people all leapt with joy! The king was coming! Immediately they went back to their beautifications and again prepared spectacularly for his soon arrival. Barns were again painted, animals dressed up, and many clothed themselves like noblemen and women even though they lived on a pauper's wage. But again, as before, the king didn't come, and the people were broken hearted about it. Even worse, they were now twice as poor and extremely late in planting their crops. Due to this some suffered great loss because the lateness of their planting caused the surprise earliness of fall to ravage their crops. Many who were already poor became even more destitute because of this, far more even than before they planted.

Only farmer Jim had a good harvest that year, and it made him a grand fortune, although he did not flaunt it, nor wave it about in vain boasting. He instead helped the needy, made improvements to his farm as needed, and then kept the rest for future needs. The next spring, those who had acted foolishly the previous year were made to beg seed from farmer Jim in order to plant their crops as their poor harvests the prior year had forced them to eat their seeds for the next year in order to stay alive and fend off starvation. Generously, farmer Jim gave them some of his seed and a small bit of his fortune to help them get back on their feet again. They planted this seed and the crops grew great and tall, their animals prospered and all seemed fine once again. But just as before, right when their crops were ripe, yet another man appeared in the village in the name of the king announcing his soon arrival. "It will be next week. It is soon, be ready," was his message, and many believed him.

Because of this they once again forsook their farms and just as before suffered great and terrible loss because of their foolishness. Their crops were consumed by weeds, their animals starved and their fruits roted in the vine. As before they again spent another long, cold, hungry winter suffering the fruits of their foolishness. Even so, they continued in their folly, despite their poverty. However, this was not so with farmer Jim. As before his crops were bountiful, his animals well fed and content, multiplying generously to the vast increase of his flock, and much more. In fact, his bounty was so great that he found himself in a conundrum. His barns were so full to overflowing, and his animals so large and numerous, that he'd run out of room to store anymore. As such he was forced to buy the land of his neighbors just to house the overflow of blessings he'd been given. And it wasn't as if he kept all of it for himself.

He was a very generous man and gave much to his neighbors in love and charity. Even so, despite his kindness, they repeatedly squandered all that they were given as they foolishly time and again listened to the lies and the deceptions of the false servants who came in the king's name proclaiming his soon arrival, even though they were not of the king, but rather his enemies. This continued on for years and years with farmer Jim growing richer and more blessed and his fellow villagers growing more poor and destitute because of the overflowing quantities of their foolishness and folly.

Eventually though, on a warm summer's day, a great parade of horses and soldiers and men came into the village without any warning or valiant fanfare. They rode into the center of town and announced their arrival with nothing more than a shout, and a single trumpet blast. "All hail the king! Your sovereign has come!" came the cry of pronouncement. The king then dismounted his horse and looked round about at the ramshackle hovels and dirty, rag draped residents of the village. "What is this!? Why are you dressed in rags!? And why is your village in such disarray? Did I not announce my coming? Were you not to prepare yourselves for my arrival!?" said the king. "We did, oh king. You declared your coming many times and we prepared for you each time the announcement came. But you did not come, and for that we have become deeply impoverished," said one of the villagers. The king looked at them angrily.

"I announced my coming once, and that no man would know the day or the hour of my coming. Any others who have come since that day and said to you that I was coming on such and such a day were not of my kingdom, nor were they numbered among my servants. You have been fools and fallen for the lies of those are my enemies, who would seek to harm you in every way they could!! Fools and lazy men! Are your ears filled with wax and your eyes blinded with mud!? You have dealt foolishly with my revelation, and as such you will not be given my blessing. However, I know in my heart that not all men are so foolish as you. Therefore I will not leave until I have found someone who has been wise in their ways and not fallen for such trickery and deceit, and who has looked for my coming and prepared their in anticipation of my coming. Therefore, I demand of you, does any such man exist among you!?" he cried. Only one person stepped forward. It was farmer Jim. "It is I, oh king. I heard of your coming from the mouth of your faithful servant, and I thus faithfully continued my work in earnest to please you at your coming, whenever day that might have been."

The king inspected the farmer's humble attire, dirty, weathered face, wrinkled hands and muddy feet. "Come, let us see your work. What I shall see of your work shall decide if you have been faithful to me as I commanded," said the king. Jim then led the king and all his entourage to his humble farm and showed the king all of his barns filled to the brim with grain, and his many, many animals, and heaping bountiful mounts of produce due to be shipped to market very soon. This was a far cry from the crushing poverty and empty hands of those within the village. "You have been a good and faithful servant. Well done," said the king. "For your faithfulness I will make you ruler over a portion of my kingdom. As for the rest of you, even what little remains to you will be taken away and given to others who have been more faithful than thee, and your shame will rise up forever before my eyes."

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