A farmer’s work is not inherently inferior to that of any other worker (a lawyer, for instance). It is true that society values their work differently, attaching status and high incomes to one but not the other. But in our society we often attach high value (with status and money) to jobs that actually have little value to society, and vice versa.
When I was studying economics in college many years ago I saw two lists of occupations, one ranking them by pay and one by value to society. The highest paying occupation was professional athlete and the lowest was mother (for which a woman isn’t paid). When the occupations were ranked according to their importance to society, the rankings were reversed: mother was number one and professional athlete was at the bottom.
Recently I was at the farmer’s market trying to sell some of our produce. I didn’t know the farmer set up next to me, but he knew who I was. He asked me if I was the person who had been a “Florida lawyer.” When I told him yes he asked whether I’d been disbarred. I told them I had not and that I was still in good standing and licensed to practice law. That probably left him more baffled than before. Clearly he couldn’t imagine any reason I’d prefer farming to lawyering. Therefore, in his mind, I must have been disbarred.
I won’t make the argument that farmers are more important to society than attorneys. I don’t think I have to. But I do insist that it is certainly true that practicing law is not inherently superior to farming.
Likewise, I strongly believe that conventional evangelism and ministry is not inherently superior or more valuable than our creation care ministry. As citizens of the kingdom, we are not all called to the same work. All the kingdom’s resources need to be deployed in the work of restoring and redeeming all of creation.
So instead of being a high-priced lawyer or foreign missionary, for example, I think I’m going to grow good food and try to convince people to take care of the planet and their bodies. That seems plenty to fill a life.