Lection Connection

June 20, 2021: Authentic Leadership

From Joan Kessler

 

The film Percy (2020) – also released as Percy vs. Goliath – tells the true story of one Saskatchewan farmer’s fight to harvest and save his own canola seed. In the late 1990s, Percy Schmeiser was sued by agricultural giant, Monsanto, for being in possession of its gene-patented canola seed.

 

Schmeiser describes himself, or his vocation, as a saver of seeds, like generations in his family were before him. Unbeknownst to Percy, he is found to be in possession of Monsanto’s seed which he did not pay for and did not acquire the rights to use in his field.

 

This underdog storyline revolves around supporting characters including Percy’s small-town lawyer and an environmentalist who uses Percy’s lawsuit to further her own causes and ambitions. Together, they support Percy and his wife Louise as they make repeated attempts to have the charges overturned in court. Percy raises the much-needed cash to fight the Goliath, Monsanto, by going on a public speaking tour. His journey sees him speak to farmers in India who know the hardship Percy speaks of and the devastating reality of farmers dying by suicide. One Indian farmer gives Percy a tour of his farm operations as a way to thank him for his work. The farmer shares with Percy a passage from the Bhagavad Gita as some good advice: “Don’t measure the result of your actions… measure the effort. What is most important is to do the right thing.”

 

After a failed appeal, the Saskatchewan farmer sees his case heard before the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court finds in favour of Percy and he is not required to pay financial restitution to the seed company. But he is ordered to hand over all his canola seed. The win was a mixed blessing for Percy, a saver of seeds. When asked why he took on the agri-business giant, he replies, “There are a lot of farmers who can’t stand up… I figured I should.”

 

Percy died October 13, 2020, at the age of 89.

 

Explore… 1 Samuel 17: (1a, 4–11, 19–23), 32–49

  • What David and Goliath moments in leadership have you faced? Was there a line in the sand that was crossed and that motivated you to stand up for yourself and/or others?
  • What toll and personal sacrifice was part of the fight?
  • What do underdog stories illuminate for us today about the nature of God?

 

Prayer…

God of the underdog, may we find strength and courage to face our Goliaths with grace, tenacity, and fortitude. We give thanks for those who support our efforts to speak truth to power and to fight the good fight. Amen.

 

Learn more…

 

 



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