Isidore the Farmer

Published 11:02 am Saturday, May 16, 2015

by Andrew Book

I have several different devotional books, websites and prayer practices that I draw on for my times of seeking God through prayer and scripture. One of those books is “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals,” and this book provides me with the story I want to share with you today.

The story is about a man named Isidore the Farmer. Isidore lived in the 11th and 12th centuries and was a very simple man. He was from a poor family and lived as a farmer and laborer on the estate of a wealthy landowner. He never owned his own land. He was not a priest or a missionary. He did not have any political power or followers on Twitter. Instead, he was a man who worshipped God. He prayed. He plowed fields. He harvested crops.

Isidore was known as a person who prayed constantly. He talked with God when he plowed a field the same as he did when he was in a worship service. Isidore was also known as a man of deep generosity. Though he had little, he was always willing to share what he had so that no one would go hungry. Isidore was known as a man who expected God to be present in the daily grind of work and family life. He was a father who lost a child, and was a husband who sought God alongside his wife.

Isidore is also considered to be a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and, while I have a slightly different understanding of what it means to be a saint, I am happy to join the Roman Catholics in calling him “Saint Isidore.” I am happy to lift him up as an example of what it means to live faithfully and fully for God. Sometimes pastors (and I can be guilty of this!) give the impression that to fully follow God, you need to move to another country to be a missionary, become a pastor like us, or have some other major life change in your job, family or home. Sometimes God does call us to those kinds of changes, but there are many of you who are reading this article who are called to be saints in the same way that Isidore is a saint — through living your life well as a faithful, generous, and prayerful human being right where you are right now.

Southampton County, Franklin and wherever else you may find yourself reading this article needs people who will follow God as they plow a field, drive a truck, teach a class, run a mill or do any of a number of jobs. The place where you are right now is the first place that you are called to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. It is possible that God will ask you to go somewhere else and do something else — but it is also possible that God is looking for people like Isidore who can stay right where they are and show the world around them what it means to be faithful to following God in your community.

The Pew Research Center just released a new set of findings indicating that more and more people are identifying themselves as “unaffiliated” when it comes to faith ( Many people will have lots to say about these numbers, but one thing I know to be true is that if you are a neighbor like Isidore, “Christians” are no longer that group in the news with stories about infighting and scandal. Instead, “Christians” are people like you. Living out faith simply and deeply, caring for the people around us, and being involved in our communities is going to draw people to Jesus more surely than any church program or televangelist. You have the opportunity to be that person.

Last Sunday at Courtland United Methodist Church, we talked about the importance of our stories of faith. One woman shared that as a child she was called to be a missionary, and as she grew, God made clear to her that she was called to be a missionary in the very community in which she grew up: This community. I could not have been happier to hear those words, because this community needs missionaries like her. It also needs missionaries like you. I pray that you will take up the call to follow Jesus wherever you find yourself!

ANDREW BOOK is the pastor of Courtland United Methodist Church. He can be contacted at 653-2240 or