Luke 9 -As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” 

Of course people who read their Bible will immediately think of the story of Elisha’s call by Elijah to be his successor while he literally had his hands to the plow. Elisha understood that he would have to leave everything behind in order to be and do what God was calling him to be and do.. After saying good-bye to his parents, Elisha cut himself off from his old life by slaughtering his oxen and burning his plow to cook their meat. He basically had nothing to look back at.

In the real world even with new technology if you look back at the field behind you as you drive your tractor and plow, the rows and furrows will become less and less straight.  Folks who do this work will tell you to set your sights on a distant object and aim for it and don’t look back.  Tractors today can practically drive themselves but the rule is the same.  The connection to keeping our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith is pretty obvious but this blog is about a pretty cool thing I found out yesterday.

We up here in the North country are surrounded by farms and farmers and watching fields being plowed is common place but did you know that there is a huge business in competitive plowing?  There is a world wide plowing competition that travels around the world.  It has been held in Kenya, and Australia and comes to the U.S. once every 30 years. Last year it was in Germany; next year it will be held in Russia.

This from the Farmer on line  “Competitors use a two-bottom moldboard plow to carefully configure the soil and accumulate points based on criteria such as straightness, depth of furrow and consistency of rows. Judges closely monitor each competitor during this timed event.

“Everything is about the plow,” says Joel Wagner, USA Plowing Organization member, who oversees the marshaling yard located adjacent to the competition fields. “Competitors are working with both metal and plastic moldboards figuring out what is working best for this soil type.”

To form perfect rows, competitors are constantly tinkering with their plow moldboards — heating them up and bending them just so. They also modify plow jointers to clear the top of the soil.

The competition, held Aug 30-31 two miles south of Baudette at 1527 25th Ave. SE, is open to the public.

Sept. 1 is the USA Nationals, where it is determined who will represent the U.S. next year in Russia as well at the North American Championship, a contest between U.S. and Canadian plowers.

What is really cool is that one of the best powers in the world are the Gruber family from Minnesota.

Who would have thunk?