Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Peach of a Business

Peach – a fruit characterized by a fuzzy skin and sweet moist meat; a seasonal source of summer delight; an instrument through which God blesses. While the last definition might be questioned, it is accurate in the case of Ham’s Peach Orchards.

Pam and I have known Dale and Judy Ham and their family for many years, beginning our annual trek to the orchard when our children were young. This week we made the journey again with our children…and their children.

I love Dale and Judy, not just because of their gracious personality and wonderful propensity to grow my favorite fruit, but because they live God’s mission in their business. The orchard is a place where God is at work in more than just the annual rite of fruit production. He is at work in creation, and in new creation as well.

Dale sat with me and talked about God’s blessings on the orchard, on his family, and in the extended family that God has brought through the orchard across the years. Seventeen years ago, a migrant laborer was hired during picking season. Today that worker, Arelio, has become a vital part of cultivating and caring for the orchard throughout the year. More, he has become a follower of Christ and now disciples others.

Dale Ham is a story of Business as Mission at the micro level. After retiring as Captain from an urban fire department, Ham started again as a novice, this time in fruit production. Every year a new component has been added to the business. This year it was Ham’s Hamburgers at the Pavilion. As his ‘retirement’ dream continues to grow, every new endeavor brings new blessings and new opportunities to expand Kingdom impact among the growing numbers who enjoy the hospitality of Ham’s Orchards.

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