Our second market season began in mid-April 2011. We added freshly made pasta to our menu that year and were pleasantly shocked at the positive reception. Our sales doubled. Yeah, boy!
We might be able to pay our own bills this summer!
We ground flour and rolled pasta dough and cracked open a lot of eggs. We washed and chopped lots of spinach for ravioli.
We also started a ¼ acre cut flower patch to add bouquets to our stock.
We were pumped about the possibility of paying our own bills. What’s wrong with seeking that?
With the success of the pasta, we added a second market in a town close to home and were entertaining thoughts of adding another. With a third market income, we might have enough to pay all our expenses.
Then the bottom fell out.
The market attendance had risen, but our sales dropped by half. Our plans for the third market were put on hold and so was our plan to pay all the bills.
We called pastor friends of ours, the Whatleys, in Louisiana. For over a decade, we had watched Glen and Tylitha walk with God, and we saw that He was with them. They just happened to be coming through north Mississippi on vacation on their Harley. (God is so very precise in His timing.)
We told them our “waiting story,” about the tight finances, and of the need for a third market.
And of the drop in sales.
I thought maybe they would jump up and say, “Are you crazy?! Why don’ choo get a dependable job to support ‘cho family, bro? Quit messin’ ‘round with all ‘dis whole grain biz and get a REAL JOB!”
(They don’t talk like that at all but that’s how my brain imagined them…)
But they didn’t.
They listened attentively and compassionately, then asked:
“Soooooo…did God TELL you to start a third market?”
Well…no, He hadn’t. We hadn’t asked Him either.
We learned that God was not interested in building a successful business. Nor was He interested in us paying our own bills at this point.
He was interested in us trusting Him and obeying Him.
Waiting on Him.
He had started teaching us this at the beginning of The Wait when He wouldn’t allow me to take jobs to pay the bills.
So, we realized we were giving FunderFarm too much credit for paying the bills. It had morphed from “something to do while we wait” to “a time-consuming, boatload of work to take care of ourselves.”
We knew God was to blame for the drop in FunderFarm sales. Wonderfully to blame!
By crippling FunderFarm, He was about to show us exactly Who was the Provider in our family.
In the summer of 2011, I began listening to verse by verse Bible studies while I worked. One particular section of the book of Matthew stood out to me – the latter part of chapter 6.
I learned that I cannot serve both God and money (Matt. 6:22-24).
I learned that I should not chase after food or clothing but only after what God wants (Matt. 6:31-33).
But, you ask, if I don’t pursue money or food or clothing, then what will I eat, wear, or live on?
“… for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:32-33)
There’s the key: our Father knows what we need.
Our Father knows what we need!
And He has promised to care for us and “add unto us” those things.
He has given Himself that responsibility.
So, what are WE to do?
We are to “seek first the kingdom.”
Not “seek first the money” or “seek first the job” or “seek first to provide for our families.”
Seek first the kingdom.
So, in the fall of 2011, I realized that we were taking on the job of being Provider.
Since the savings ran out that April, we had progressively picked up the heavy responsibility of Provision and put it on our backs.
But God wanted to teach us a different way. He wanted to teach us a dependence on Him beyond our experience.
He wanted to teach us how to live Matthew 6.
FunderFarm had become a way for us to attempt to make a living. We were often “seeking first to pay the bills.” After a lot of prayer and rehashing FunderFarm’s role in what God was doing, I felt like God made an offer:
“Davy, you can either keep going until everything slowly crumbles and THEN I can teach you what I want to teach you,
you can quit now and we can get on with it.”
(insert sarcasm) Wow. What great options. I can either crash now…or later.
But in His goodness He was teaching us dependence on Him.
Well, if God had something more to teach us, we wanted to learn it.
So we chose to rip off the Band-Aid quickly. We wanted to get on with it.
We brought FunderFarm to an abrupt end in mid-October 2011, two weeks before the market closed.
God was giving us an opportunity to practice what I had learned in Matthew 6. We were stopping our race to catch provision.
We were learning to seek first the kingdom of the Provider.
What a wonderful Teacher.
What a kind and dutiful Father.
Soon, we would get to know Him even better as He led us and walked with us through the craziest year we had ever seen.