One of our church elders shared a very funny comment during the most recent sermon: The innkeeper who owned the inn where Jesus was born missed a prime public relations opportunity. He could have made big bucks for the rest of his life promoting his inn as the “Inn Where the Messiah was Born”— if only he had offered Mary and Joseph a room.

What other opportunities do we miss in the agriculture industry, and in life, because on the surface, they may not look like they are worth taking? Like the innkeeper, most of us would probably have passed up the opportunity to give Joseph and Mary a room, because the young couple probably looked like any other travelers visiting Jerusalem during the Roman census — certainly not remarkable enough to compel the innkeeper to give up a room from his already full inn.

Do we pass up other opportunities because the benefits may not be seen immediately? Cover crops are a perfect example. On the surface, that cereal rye, radish or hairy vetch may seem like a humble crop, but those cover crops are capable of working a minor miracle in your soil—reviving it, making it a better habitat for earthworms and other organisms, and breaking up compaction.

The innkeeper might not have seen financial benefits right away, because Jesus’ destiny as the Messiah did not surface until 30 plus years later.

At first, you may not see the results of growing cover crops. It won’t take 3 decades, but it may still take a couple of years to see tangible benefits. The benefits will come to those who persist, as they would have for the innkeeper.

Growing cover crops may take a bit of sacrifice on the part of the grower, in the form of time and money invested. But in the end, the benefits will far exceed the effort.

This Christmas let’s all take the time to reflect on the opportunities we may be missing in life — both in and out of the field.

Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas.