Angus Buchan was a Scotsman by birth, but a South African farmer by trade. His wife and children followed him on a journey of desperation to save their livelihood. In the process, Angus was given the gift of faith in Christ. His newfound zeal for the Lord was bold and visible. It did not set well with the farming establishment. Yet he lived faithfully before God despite their contempt.
In the midst of an African drought, at a time when no one was planting, Angus looked the fool when he risked everything to plant potatoes. The thing about potatoes is that they grow unseen, underground. Though the leaves are seen to the human eye, the fruit is a mystery. It is only when the harvest comes that the fruit is revealed.
The correlation of this true story, as told in the book and movie, Faith Like Potatoes, is that Christian faith is like harvesting potatoes. Faith is often unseen or difficult to affirm until struggles or sufferings arise. Like potatoes, faith may not be known or fully realized until life’s comforts are pulled back and unearthed. When the fruit of faith is found, it is a joy to know that despite the drought-like culture and the tares of the enemy, God is strong and able to produce a harvest of righteousness.
As we minister to others we soon find there are varied realities about faith. The leaves of some lives seem verdant and healthy, yet below the surface there is no real fruit, no living faith. Other times, what can easily be dismissed as a meager little seed perseveres through wind and rain to take root, grow and flourish–producing a righteous harvest.
In our own lives and in serving others, we should not despise the day or small things. What may begin small–by God’s grace, often grows beyond all estimation. Neither should we simply assume that healthy leaves or the “right” Christian externals equal a living faith. May we seek to truly get to the heart (beginning with our own) and not be satisfied and quelled by mere appearances. May we speak and act in such a way with others that it encourages real faith to grow.
And when we struggle to walk by faith ourselves, may we recall the times that look most bleak are when faith becomes most needed. We do not walk by sight as believers in Christ. We hold onto the promises Christ gave us, through faith.
We shall never forget a remark that George Mueller once made to a gentleman who had asked him the best way to have strong faith.
“The only way,” replied the patriarch of faith, “to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” This is very true. The time to trust is when all else fails.–Streams in the Dessert, June 2
Ultimately, God blessed Angus Buchan’s potato crops, and the farmer gave all glory to God! It was a wonderful testimony. Like the farmer, the seeds we plant or reap for the kingdom are not dependent on us. The faith that God bears in the hearts of men is His work–underground and often unseen. Still, he calls us to labor and join his work, taking every opportunity for Him and giving all glory to God.
In evangelism and discipleship, Christian servants play varied roles in this harvest. As in 1 Corinthians 3, some will plant, some will water, and some will harvest. Though our roles may vary, may we all seek to join the Psalmist, David in bolder saying:
I do not seal my lips, as you know, O Lord. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart. I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly. Psalm 40:9,10
In Christ’s love, erika