“I didn’t know a thing about farming. I still don’t know very much about farming.”
Becoming a farmer wasn’t exactly Jason Brown’s first career choice. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago he was living his dream, playing football in the NFL.
After an outstanding career at the University of North Carolina, Jason was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2005. He worked long and hard to be one of the best.
“It’s all about winning a championship,” said Jason. “It’s all about receiving that glory of attempting to get to a Super Bowl.”
The hard work paid off. In 2009 Jason became the highest paid center in NFL history when he signed with the St. Louis Rams. Now he had the life he always imagined. But while Jason was busy chasing his dream, he didn’t notice it was affecting his family and his relationship with God.
“From the average perspective we were the perfect family. The financial security that we had at that time it was something that would be desired by pretty much anyone, but yet spiritually we were dying inside,” explained Jason.
Then with only two games left in his third season with the rams, Jason walked into a meeting that changed everything.
“My coach called me into his office and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to bench you.’ Wow, it was such a humbling situation, where it completely blind-sided me.”
No explanation was given, and at the end of the season he was let go. Jason read the Bible, fasted and prayed, looking to God for answers.
“What the Holy Spirit was speaking to me was that, Jason, you really got it all wrong. Really faith and family is supposed to be the foundation of your life, of your career. Yet I had placed football up on a pedestal, the entitlements, the notoriety, the fame.”
For the first time in his life, Jason questioned whether his future was playing football.
“For me, if I were to choose to continue to play football it would have to be within God’s plan and for there to be a life of purpose,” said Jason. “Because from that point forward every decision that I made it was going to involve God and it was going to be based on faith and family foremost.”
In a meeting with the Carolina Panthers, Jason says God made that decision clear. They made him an offer hard to refuse, but he did, and walked away from the game he loved.
“My parents picked me up from the Carolina Panthers facility, and they looked at me all bright eyes and said, ‘all right, are you going to be a Panther?’ And I said, ‘no Mom, no Dad, I’m not going to be a Panther.’ And I said, ‘you know what, you’re going to have to trust me on this one, because I’m trusting God.’”
Jason continued, “Then comes, ‘what are you going to do Jason?’ And to tell you the truth, God hadn’t revealed that to me in my life yet. I knew that it just wasn’t going to be football any longer.”
He found out after he moved his family to North Carolina.
“God told me, ‘I want you to be a farmer.’”
So Jason bought a farm. He says also God showed him the purpose of his farm wasn’t to sell food, but to give it away.
“’I want you to feed My people; truly feeding God’s people.’ And that’s the purest way of sharing Christ’s love,” said Jason.
Two years later, with the help of local farmers, Two years later, he had his first harvest. . . it was far beyond his expectations.
“And it was simply the seed of faith, the small seed of me being obedient and actually starting the process and then God did everything else. So I can take very little to no credit for this wonderful and abundant harvest. All glory goes to God.”
That year, Jason donated over 120,000 pounds of produce to local food banks.
As Jason looks ahead to the next season, he says he’s not sure how long he will be farming, but he does know whatever he does, he can trust God in everything.
“I have no fears of what this next year will bring. I have no fears as far as what the rest of my life will bring. As long as I’m doing my part He’s going to do the rest.”