We Have a Field to Tend
Poor Man's Cotton by Hale Woodruff
There is a definite energy in this painting that almost makes us want to jump in and help. We can see that the cotton field is ready for harvest and these five black harvesters are diligently working to bring it in.
The time of this painting is 79 years after slavery ended in America. This black family may be poor but this field is theirs. They no longer wear the drab rags of the slave era. They no longer work another's field under the threat of whippings and quotas. No, they own this crop and are glad to be harvesting it. Their bright, colorful clothes show an optimism and unmistakable energy.
The artist has drawn the figures so that they fairly dance while they work. They work hard perhaps day and night until the crop is completely harvested. The day, symbolized by the fiery red and orange color reminds us of hot, back breaking work. But the midnight blue color shows that as the day wears on there is relief from the heat and harvest will soon be over.
God gives each of us a field to tend. He keeps the ownership but we are to manage and work our field with the energy and optimism of this colorful work party. Whatever field God gives us he expects that we'll plant it, tend it, and then bring in the harvest. God expects a multiplication of His initial investment to us. We are to take his investment and work at it with our whole heart.
When our field is harvested, we give God his part and He in turn lets us keep using the rest. And best of all we'll have the Lord's hearty appreciation of a job well done. He says, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25:21