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  • Writer's pictureCalli Townsend

A lesson from the combine

My Saturday evening was spent in a tractor, a combine, a truck, and a pair of tennis shoes.

I drove to the farm, ran to the field, and hopped in the tractor with Chance. After a couple laps down the field, I bounced over to the combine with my grandpa. From there, I scooted onto the tractor with my dad to go back to the farm. Then we returned via tractor to pick up the truck once the tractor’s cart was unloaded.

On the way to get the truck, Dad let me drive the tractor to the field. I couldn’t stop in time and missed the driveway, so I didn’t technically make it back to the field. But I did at least make it down the road.

I promise there’s a point to this story…just let me tell you my favorite part first.

So after my dad got the tractor into the field and we got the truck back to the farm to unload it, Grandpa called and said he was done for the day. This meant there was a combine and two tractors each with full carts left in the field.

Dad was unloading the semi, so I, feeling all confident and such, asked, “Do you want me to run to the field and drive the other tractor back here?”

You could tell my dad thought this through before he answered.

“It’s kind of harder to drive with a full cart,” he said. “I can run there with you if you want?”

Based on my resumé from an hour prior to my asking the question, Dad made the right call, at least for the tractor and its cargo…maybe not for his shins.

He ran with me (in his boots!) back to the field. It was so fun and I smiled the whole time. He was really pushing the pace too. I can’t imagine those boots were the comfiest to run in, but thankfully it wasn’t too far. (Although if you ask him, he might tell you it was four miles like he told my brother.)

So anyway, that was my Saturday. I never really did learn to stop the tractor in time, but I did learn another lesson.

Chance’s job was to line up the tractor and cart with the combine when he noticed the combine getting full. My grandpa would start up the auger and begin to unload.

As I watched wheat pour out, I was getting nervous because it looked like it would be so easy for the wheat to overflow or for the auger to miss the cart. There was a lot going on and I had a ton of questions, but I kept quiet.

“Thank you for not asking any questions,” Chance said smiling after he and my grandpa finished. “Now what were you wondering?”

I like to ask questions, Chance likes to focus. Sometimes, my asking questions ruins his focus. But I’ve learned over the last four years that if you’re patient enough to wait for the right time to ask your questions, you’ll get all the answers you’re looking for.

“So how do you know when it’s getting full?”

“Do you set the speed or does Grandpa?”

“Do you move the cart or does he move the auger?”

“How many combine loads can fit in a cart?”

The wheat starts to bounce, Grandpa, the auger, and about two.

When I got in the combine with Grandpa, however, I realized it was totally different from the tractor. As he unloaded again, I could actually see the inside of the cart and I could tell where the wheat was going and it didn’t feel so out of control.

The combine is in charge of the whole harvesting operation. It sets the speed and fills the trucks and tractors with what they need to do their jobs. It also gives you the best view.

“From the road this field looks really flat, but once you get out here you can tell it has a lot of roll to it,” Grandpa said.

He was right. And the golden rolling hills illuminated by the setting sun were beautiful.

Now, just because the combine and its operator are in charge, it doesn’t mean they can just sit back and stare at those beautiful rolling hills. As Chance pointed out to me, my grandpa constantly had to lift and lower the combine head, adjust the speed, keep track of the hopper, and press a bunch of other buttons. His job isn’t easy, but he does have the best view.

As I sat with Grandpa and watched the cart pile up with grain, I thought, How awesome is this?

Here’s my grandpa, the guy who started this farm. The guy in charge. The guy with the best view. When he gets to work in his combine, he gives purpose to others.

Chance had to ride alongside Grandpa and be filled by him, and what he received, he gave to my dad. My dad will then later pass it along to the next guy who will give it to other people to make something out of the wheat. (Hopefully my favorite Pepperidge Farm bread.)

Do you see where I’m going with this?

It started with the vision of the guy who started this farm. He still has the best view. He can see the tractors and carts and trucks scooting around the field and down the road.

He can also see his granddaughter zipping past the driveway when she misses her turn and he can see her smiling as she runs with her dad in his work boots.

He sets the speed and he gives the rest of the crew purpose, and it’s up to them to keep the grain moving.

We have a Heavenly Father with a grand vision. He still has the best view. Work alongside Him, be filled with His love, and let Him give you your purpose.

Keep His mission moving.


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