My Life as a Farmer’s Tan

Now, I’m pretty sure that everyone knows what a farmer’s tan is, but for the few and far between that don’t, it’s when you wear a tee-shirt and get a tan, producing an arm that is only halfway dark. But it’s not only on the skin that we humans can get a farmer’s tan. We can also get a farmer’s tan on our life.

This past week, I was in Southwest Virginia helping out on a mission trip with my youth group. My crew worked on creating a porch and handicap ramp for an elderly woman.
Obviously, all of that work was outside. That was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because all of us could work at once; a curse because of the weather. This is how God planned the week:

On the first and second days, we had a blaring sun that burned onto our unprotected skin and made us incredibly hot and sweaty as we dug holes in the extremely rocky soil.

On the third day, a very overcast day with dark, menacing clouds that opened up on us and prevented us from finishing. It poured. We were very disappointed because we could have finished that day.

On the fourth day, God was very gracious to us. Right as we nailed in the last nail and spread the last bag of mulch, the clouds again opened up. We had finished just in time.

It felt really good to finish, but at the end of the week, you should have seen our skin. Two of the boys hadn’t put on any sunscreen, so their faces and arms were the color of a fire engine. Thankfully, I had put some sunscreen on so only the back of my neck was burned. I must say, we were a funny looking crew when we went to the pool. As long as we had a tee-shirt on, we looked normal, but as soon as the sleeves got shorter, it was obvious our skin tones weren’t the same.

But that kind of relates to my life too. Those people that don’t really know I’m a Christian see the skin that isn’t covered by my sleeve. Sometimes, they see that I’ve been burned by sin. But I’m just a normal person. I’m no different than the millions of other tan people out there. Until I roll up my sleeves. Then everyone can see the purity of knowing Christ in my life. He’s washed my life clean, just like my pale skin under my shirt sleeve. It’s hidden until I choose to show it.

But why don’t I show it all of the time? There’s a possibility that it too could get burned by the devil. I’m protecting myself. But when other people see the difference, they could get curious and ask for the story behind the burn. Then I could change their life. So where does God want my sleeve to be?  Does He want me to keep my life hidden and only show people every so often? I don’t think so. I think He wants all of us to roll up our sleeves and trust in Him as the sunscreen to protect us. He wants to get the world curious about our story.

The strength it takes to roll up our sleeves and show our purity and relationship with Christ can be daunting. It seems like such an easy thing until you actually try it. But I’m going to try and keep my sleeves up as much as possible. I know that if I trust in God, He’ll protect me. It wasn’t meant for me to hide from the world. Be in the world, but not of it, right? I’m going to keep trying, and with God at my back, I know I can do it.


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