In farming and ranching, despite the boasts of science and technology against the so-called inconveniences of nature, there remains a lack of confidence in these powerful tools by those whom they were made. A sick animal can be taken into the barn, given antibiotic and medicine, warmed by blankets and even electric heat, and despite these cares, might still die if the veterinarian failed to either diagnose the correct disease or if the microorganism somehow mutated in adaptation. Fields might be worked with extraordinary care employing the most advanced understandings of soil chemistry to prevent disease, but may yet be eaten by deer. A cat might break into the chick brooder. Thieves and vandals may utterly destroy a farm, and perhaps even killing the husband and wife. A thousand things can go wrong.
But usually they don’t. The agricultural insurance agencies offer excellent rates because, due to the advances of technology and science, a crop failure need never happen except under force of God. Nature, at whom our worthy ancestors brandished bloody axes, sacrificed puppies, or in other ways attempted to placate or intimidate, has largely been tamed and so, in thanksgiving a farmer or rancher no longer needs to bestow great attention to the pantheon of minor deities who once mattered so much to their fathers and mothers, but to the single God who empowered them by knowledge and insight to defend themselves and who reserved the humbling trials of total disaster for some future day.
This Thanksgiving, let us contemplate how we would encounter such total disaster. Against thieves and the ravages of war, we have an honorable fight; against disease we have the patient pursuit of medical science; against floods we may build dams and dikes; we may alter the course of rivers, move mountains and, by powers exceeding those the ancient rites we have given up, aspire to even contemplate the magnitude of our blessings from our God, and catch a glimpse of those larger fields we till but a part of and those magnificent pastures into which we, ourselves, with our cattle, are daily led.