Subdue the Earth

Cradling Wheat by Thomas Hart Benton 1938

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Harvesting Wheat

There is a wonderful order and rhythm in this painting as we watch five farm laborers cradling wheat. You get the rhythm from the gentle curves drawn in the clouds, the hills, the trees and the field. Everything seems in a gentle, steady movement.

Every man focuses on his part and together the field is being harvested one row at a time, one sheaf at a time. In the subduing of this field the life of man is sustained because this wheat will become bread and bread sustains life.

God's original mandate to man was "fill the earth and subdue it." (Genesis 1:28) We are to plant, water, cultivate and use everything to sustain and improve our lives. Work was not to be part of the curse but a blessing.

In our work we are fulfilled. Our minds and our bodies are used by God to develop all He originally gave us and as we bring things into order our lives are satisfied. Let us give our lives wholeheartedly to what God has put before us so that we can enjoy his abundance along with great satisfaction.

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