Life Lessons from a Pioneer Farmstead

Just off the trail of my backyard hike at The Wilderness Center just outside Wilmot Ohio, I can stop by an ancient spring and reflect by its emergent flow. There’s a historic marker here for the Kilgore farmstead, deeded by Thomas Jefferson in 1808. I’m reflecting at the life source of an old abandoned farm. With a little investigative imagination I can place the possible layout of this pioneer venture.

My father was the son of Michigan homesteaders. Wilmot Ohio is a long way from Gladwin Michigan, yet I connect with a little history knowing that it was a raw place such as this that my grandfather labored to carve a farm out of untamed land.

The water source here made it a prime location. The source of living water runs, it’s my guess, between where the house was on a flattened knoll to my left and a wider more spacious area for the barn to my right. There’s water enough for home, livestock and crops. Imagination kicks in and I see the water bucket being drawn, fresh milk being brought to cool and this spring of living water as the hub of the farm’s life flow.

Weaving my way to the right through some unforgiving briars I come to the remnant of the old foundation. I remember dad telling me that the barn was erected first because it was from the barn that their livelihood was derived. They lived there first. This foundation takes up a pretty good area. Bigger I estimate than they would’ve invested into the house. The barn erected on this solid foundation helped secure survival.

In front of the very old stones I find scattered farm implements. They sit as decaying memorials, rusting in place as a testimony to the toil of past dreams. It’s a glimpse of life, labor and accomplishment all fleeting and gone.

It’s easy for me to see life lessons wandering through the old farmstead. I’m reminded that Jesus came to earth to be the living water. The spring of eternal life for our wandering lost souls. No eternal life exists without it.

Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 NKJV

The farmstead buildings are gone. The foundation remains. Solid foundations always remain. Jesus is the foundation of faith. The foundation of truth and the very cornerstone of the church He is building. He will always remain. The farm implements are all that remain of farmstead life, yet they too will rust away and become earthly stubble. Nothing built by man on this earth will last.

  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. I Corinthians 3:9-15 NKJV

Christ endures. The foundation of life eternal is unmovable. He prepares for us a new home that will last forever. Working and serving Jesus builds an enduring legacy – solid and sure – to the glory of God that will never be corrupted or destroyed. Saving faith in Jesus will last … forever.

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About the Ordinary Hiker

A Christian camp director for many years, I enjoy ministry and being outdoors. I refer to God's creative wonder as the testimony of creation, a special place where God brings His word to life. Its where I like to be and where God speaks in His gentle voice in the awe of His creative work.
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