There was an old man who for many, many years entered his field in the spring to prepare it for sowing. Every year he would examine the field to see how the winter had left it and inevitably there were a multitude of stones that first would have to be removed. In fall after the harvest he would note how the field was clean and ready for the spring, but it was as if with the first snow, stone seeds were planted in the field and with the spring thaw they would pop up ready for harvesting.
Each year the man would begin his spring gleaning by removing all the stones. As the years passed, the pile of stones he collected grew first as a small pile beside his barn to now a large, looming mountain. He often marveled at the fact that he had moved so many rocks in his life. From small pebbles to large boulders the man spent a great deal of time just moving rocks.
One spring day the old man looked out on his field to see that it had been a very prosperous year for stones. There were more stones than ever before at least his back thought. “Another year of harvesting stones. I do not know if I have it in me anymore,” the old man thought to himself. His knees ached, his back hunched, even his fingers were sore, his body was saying no more. Turning to the sky, the old man said, “Why God, did you gift me with such a prosperous field of rocks?” But there was no answer. Did he even expect one?
The man retrieved his wheelbarrow, spade, and went to work collecting the stones. At mid-day the man could no longer bend over to pick up another stone. He stood there looking at his field and he knew that he could no longer do this work. “What shall I do? This is my lively hood. If I do not continue I will not put food on the table and I will starve.” These thoughts weighed heavily on his head. There alone in the field, beneath the very heavens the man stood and cried.
“What is the matter?” said a voice. The man in shock to hear someone looked up. His tear filled eyes had difficulty focusing on the person who was there in the middle of the field with him.
“You are greatly upset and crying in the middle of a field. Why?” said the person.
Still bewildered, the old man responded, “I can no longer harvest my field of stones. And if I cannot remove the stones I cannot plant my corps, and I will not be able to survive.”
The person responded, “Yes, I see you have many stones. Even the pile next to your barn is huge. But do you really think that God will not provide for you?”
“Yes, I know God will provide for my soul, but I still must work to see that I can live.”
“You have worked for many years. You have had faith that the seeds you planted would grow. You have believed that there would be a good harvest at the end of each year. You even had hope that there would not be stones the spring. Why don’t you trust that God will provide for all your needs?”
The old man pondered this question. He’s faith was confident but he never thought about God caring for him in any other way that involved trust. This was a little too much for the old man to accept. He had always worked hard in his stony field and now he was being asked by some stranger to trust that God would care for him. As ludicrous as this seemed there was something nagging the old man in his soul; a feeling that the stranger was right.
“Let go and let God,” he thought to himself. Why did this ring true in his heart. Let go and let God, it seemed preposterously simple. “Trust God. I need to trust God,” the old man said aloud. A weight fell off the man’s shoulders a burden that had been weighing him down for years. It made sense to him now, all these years he had faith and confidence that the field would provide but what he really needy was to believe that God would care for him even more than the field.
The man beamed with radiance and joy in his heart. He did a little jig in the middle of the field. The joy and laughter of life and nature seemed to celebrate with him. The old man stopped to thank the stranger but the stranger was nowhere to be seen. The old man in shock looked around the entire field. It was not possible for the person to have simply walked away that fast.
The old man looked down where the stranger had stood and he noticed something rather peculiar. It was something gleaming and shiny. “What is that?” he said aloud. Reaching over one more time he bent down and picked up the rock. God had provided.