In my childhood, whenever I finished eating a meal, I was often scolded by my grandfather. It was because of the grains of rice which were left in my bowl; I was not good at using a spoon, so it was so troublesome for me to eat the remaining few grains.
“You need to know how much effort a farmer puts forth to grow rice. Make sure to eat every grain of rice in your bowl.”
I did as my grandfather told me to, but I complained in my heart.
‘What’s so special about rice? Every food, including instant noodles and pies, is the same. Is it only rice that is so precious and valuable?’
As I was born and grew up in the city, I had rarely been to a farm village. So, I had no opportunity to understand how laborious farm work really is.
As I grew up more and learned about farming from a textbook, I thought that I realized the efforts of farmers to some degree. When I entered university, I had an opportunity to do volunteer work in a rural area with my friends. When we arrived in the countryside, there was an elderly couple waiting for us. Seeing them, we wondered how they were able to work.
“Since we are young, let’s do everything on their behalf!”
With full confidence, we went out to work. However, it was not an easy thing to do. We just needed to pull the weeds, but it did not go as well as we had expected. Moreover, my back started hurting and my legs were shaking soon after. In the evening, I was too tired to move. The elderly couple served us watermelon and treated us very warmly. We were embarrassed and sorry because we thought that we had not given them much help but were only served by them. While lying in bed and thinking that farm work is very hard, I was reminded of what my grandfather told me when I was a child.
‘You need to know how much effort a farmer puts forth to grow rice.’
I realized the same kind of thing while carrying out the gospel work. Before, I thought that I fully understood just by seeing a video how much suffering Heavenly Father and Mother had been going through while walking the path of the gospel. I came to realize that it was only literal or knowledge-based after I had field experience in preaching the gospel through a short-term mission trip.
‘Since I’ve been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, I’ll go find many of my lost brothers and sisters!’
I courageously went on a short-term mission trip as if I was going to do something great. While going through a difficult time during my mission trip, I completely realized how much God had sacrificed to find one soul. I also understood that Father and Mother had gone before us and prepared the way for us.
The elderly couple in the countryside did not entrust us with picking peppers, worrying that we would break off the branches of pepper plants by mistake because we had never experienced doing it before. They did not entrust us with mowing grass, either, because they were worried that we might feel frightened if a snake suddenly came out of the bean patch. We just pulled out the weeds in the field; we didn’t have much to do because the couple had already done nearly everything.
God, who is the spiritual Farmer, has also prepared everything for us and entrusted us with the task which requires very little effort. Our efforts are nothing compared to the pain and suffering that our Father and Mother went through while walking the path of the gospel. By doing the task, however, I can understand even just a little bit about the sacrifice of Father and Mother. As for spiritual farming, too, we cannot know unless we give it a try. Before the day comes when I cannot work, I want to gain much more experience in spiritual farming―the work of the gospel, so I can steadily store up rewards in heaven.