On a recent trip to the Eyre Peninsula, Melinda and I met many wonderful people. We travelled to all corners of this beautiful part of Australia and one of those places was Kyancutta; an isolated area in the north-west of the peninsula.
We went there to visit the Schmucker family and were welcomed by Terry, his wife Lisa and two of their five children, Amy and Tiffany. Melinda and I were struck by some of the beautiful paintings on the walls and were pleasantly surprised to hear they were painted by Lisa and Tiffany.
One series of paintings that caught my eye was completed by Tiffany for her Year 12 assessment. The paintings were three pictures of hands: one holding soil, one grain and the other water. The hands belonged to Tiffany (soil), Lisa (water) and Terry (grain).
There was so much I saw in this painting that thrilled my heart. First, like many farming families, all work together to produce crops that go into sustaining a nation. Second, productive working families generously support God’s work, both in Australia and overseas. Third, the paintings depict three life-giving substances: Soil, Water and Grain.
Soil – What a beautiful sight across the country at sowing time!
Ploughed or direct-drill paddocks sit and wait to give life to the seeds placed in its care; a store for moisture and nutrients to feed the crop as it grows.
Water – While we can live for some time without food, we can survive only a few days without water! When humans are looking for life on other planets, their search is specifically focused on water or its evidence. Water is foundational to all life, and soil without water cannot produce a crop.
Grain – In its many forms, grain has been the sustaining food for mankind throughout history!
To look across fields before harvest, a sea of grain-head swaying in the breeze, is a delight to the eyes. This is evidence of good planning and hard work providing for the future.
Jesus used all three: Soil, Water and Grain as descriptors when He talked about Himself, His service to us and our service for Him. Jesus described Himself as the ‘Living Water’ and in drinking our fill from Him, we will never thirst again (John 7:37-38). Finding our satisfaction in Christ will take our minds off this world and all its temporary cravings.
Jesus said if the grain doesn’t fall to the ground and die, it will not produce many seeds and create life in abundance (John 12:24). He used grain to describe His own death on the cross which gives life to all who follow Him.
Jesus gave the example of cultivated earth (soil) to show we need to build relationships with people to plant the seed of salvation in their hearts. He then brings it to harvest through careful nutrient application and watering of the Holy Spirit (Matt 13:23).
I am so thankful people like Tiffany use their gifts to glorify God! Her paintings have encouraged and challenged me. They have lifted my thoughts to see God’s heart and intent as He uses His creation to teach us all He has done and continues to do for us.