Tonight I went to Athens, Georgia, to hear a presentation by the Waller family. They are Christians in Israel serving Israelis by helping in agriculture. You can find out more about them at hayovel.com
They are Christian Zionists who have adopted some of the Jewish lifestyle in their mission of serving Israel agriculturally. They are a sweet family with eleven children. I can relate since I have seven (and plan to have more).
Their story basically is that they lived the normal American life and decided they wanted more by having less. They joined an Amish-Mennonite farming community (though they are not Amish in their doctrine) and learned a lifestyle of simplicity (no electrical power). Then, after that period of their lives, they went to Israel to work in the vineyards and fields.
The statistics support their mission. Israel has seen a 50% decline in agricultural output in the last decade. The reason? Technoology pays so much more, no one wants to do agriculture. Chalk it up also to the failures of socialism. Israel is a socialist state and incentives in business and farming are lost when the government takes over. Farmers shouldn’t live on government subsidies, but should profit from a free market.
Israel brings in 30,000 Thai workers each year to work the farms (a parallel to our corrupt system in the U.S.).
The Wallers have a thought: why shouldn’t Christians go and help by working in the fields, repairing or building irrigation systems, and so forth? It would be a way for Christians to serve the Jewish people and be a light by deeds and not merely words. The Wallers hope to see a day when 30,000 Christians go to Israel annually, for 1 to 3 months, to work in the land and bring Israel back to agricultural success.
There are numerous promises in the prophets about agriculture in Israel in the last days. Many are about the Messianic Age. But God’s ways usually involve people. We should not assume that the agricultural miracles of the Age to Come will be done without human preparation. History has shown that God works through people.
The Wallers consider themselves to fit into the promise of Isaiah 61:5-6, ” Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; but you shall be called the priests of the Lord.” The Wallers are Gentiles dressing the vines in the settlements of the West Bank (Samaria).
Theologically, I agree with the basic thrust of their work. Serving is the best way to be a blessing. God will keep his promises, but meanwhile, there is nothing wrong with working with God as we await his miracles.