You’ve just met your roommate, and the two of you have hit it off. Maybe you come from similar backgrounds. Maybe you like the same music. Maybe you have nothing in common but you click anyway. Then when the time comes for you to spend your first night sleeping in the same living space, your roommate whispers something to you: “By the way—I hope you don’t mind—but I snore.”
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Like many people, I used to have the same thoughts, "Oh it's just a county fair." However, this year was the first time in eleven years I stepped foot on to the Rock Island County Fairgrounds with out any animals or other 4-H projects to exhibit. Instead, I spent the week watching from an entirely new perspective that gave me a whole new appreciation for what I used to consider "just a county fair".
More and more, society has begun to question the relevance and value of a county fair when less than 2 percent of the population is actively involved in production agriculture. This question alone proves to me that county fairs are more important than ever. Fairs and livestock exhibitions are the foundation for agriculture promotion in our society and, as our population continues to shift to a more urban demographic, it is the responsibility of a county fair to remind the public of the key role that agriculture, and rural communities, will continue to play in our economy and daily lives.
Fairs not only promote agriculture, but also supply jobs; support rural economic development and local commerce; and provide opportunities for youth and adult education. The success of a fair is dependent on its volunteers and youth through programs like 4-H, whether they’re exhibiting livestock, crops and clothing or newer projects like film making. Speaking from my own personal experience, I am so thankful for the opportunity to show livestock at the fair.
My experiences aided in providing me with hands-on learning about the realities of food production as well as gaining major life skills such as communication and responsibility that molded me into a well functioning member of society.
Many years ago, a simple gathering for commodity trade began as a way to bring friends and neighbors together to showcase hard work and effort. These things still matter. Fairs are the connecting point of the people and products that showcase our heritage. I wholeheartedly believe in fairs and what they can do for a community and even the participants.
I encourage everyone to take time this summer to visit your local county or state fair. Take a stroll through the barns, strike up a conversation with a young exhibitor about his, or her, project. Watch the 4-H auction, maybe bid on an animal, and see how the hard work put in by the owner truly pays off. Experience a demolition derby, a concert, or play some carnival games with your family. Whether you are lifetime attendee or have never set foot on a fairgrounds, now is the best time to get involved in one of our countries oldest traditions- you will not regret it.
When I watch the music video for Casting Crowns "Only Jesus" I am reminded of the reason why we are on this earth, alive, breathing air through our lungs, our hearts beating, and time going on and on.
We are on this earth, not to seek our own glory, our own accolades, and our own selfish greed, but to know God, love God, and to make Him known in this world, through sharing how God's son Jesus has set us free from our sinful lives and has resurrected us spiritually.
At the beginning of the video, we see Mark Hall, the lead singer of Casting Crowns, driving down a road, eventually driving into a junkyard. The junkyard is both a setting for the music video and an allegory. The junkyard is allegorical to show that everything we obtain in this world, both material things and in achieving our own selfish pursuits of self-glory, self-pride, and self-adulation, will one day rot away and decay into nothingness.
No one will remember you in 500 years when you are dead and gone. The only exception to this is if you do something spectacular with your life that makes you famous. Only then will people remember what you did, not the person that you really was.
But living for Jesus and dedicating our lives to the "good fight" is the everlasting legacy we should pass on.
We should be remembered how we dedicated every minute of our lives being fishers of men for Jesus. When Christian men and women live this way, their children learn about God's love, which in turn causes them to surrender their lives to God, then passing God's love to their children, repeating this infinite loop of love for all time until Jesus comes back. Only Jesus is eternal. Only His love is eternal.
So when I die, "I don't want to leave a legacy. I don't care if they remember me, only Jesus."
Because my Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the only thing that matters.