In 1848, during the Great Famine, there was a failed Irish nationalist uprising by the Young Irelanders. It culminated on 29 July in a gunfight which became known as ‘The Battle of Widow McCormack’s Cabbage Patch’.
One of the rebels was shot dead by the police. Another was fatally wounded. Yet even though it was a matter of life and death, it’s hard not to smile at the name. We would be quick to tell people about ancestors who fought at Waterloo or Gettysburg – but a cabbage patch doesn’t rank too highly when it comes to the great battlefields of history.
Yet we’re not all called to take on the enemy on glamorous battlefields. As if there is such a thing anyway.
Lentil fields need defended
In 2 Samuel 23 we meet a man called Shammah who takes his stand in a plot of ground full of lentils. The Philistines had gathered. The men of Israel had fled. But Shammah ‘took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the LORD worked a great victory’ (v. 12).
I’m sure there are people that we’re all looking forward to meeting in heaven: our favourite characters from the Bible, as well as great missionaries and others from church history. But has anyone ever said: ‘I can’t wait to meet the guy who defended the lentil field’?!
Yet lentil fields need defended. And God calls most of his followers to serve him in unglamorous situations.
I was speaking to a fellow minister recently who said that there are men coming out of his denomination’s training college and there are places they don’t want to go. In particular, they don’t want to go to rural places or towns that are far away from the big cities. To use the language of 2 Samuel 23, people don’t want to go to lentil fields in the first place. And if they find themselves in a lentil field, they don’t want to stay there too long.
Such aversion is nothing new. Francis Patton, President of Princeton University (1888-1902), used A. A. Hodge’s call to Lower West Nottingham in Maryland as a rebuke to ministers who would not take small, poor churches. They ‘seem to have the impression’, Patton said, ‘that if they bury themselves in small places remote from cities and away from railroads, God will not be able to find them when the great work is ready which he has for them to do’.
But lentil fields need defended.
Read the rest of the article here to find out.
The above is an excerpt from an article written by Rev Stephen Steele (Stranraer RPCS) for the Gentle Reformation Blog.