You Are a Farmer!

This past week I ran across a quote from John Woolman that has been resonating loudly between my ears and careening down into my heart with reckless abandon. Here is the quote:

‎”To till poor land requires near as much labor as to till that which is rich.”

In the context of his journal entry, Woolman is actually talking about farming. But it took on a more reflective aspect for me as I pondered the soils in my life and which ones I am investing in order to produce good fruit.

And as I did so, I realized there are certain soils that I spend a lot of time and energy on that are just not that important.

These might be soils in which I might be fairly capable, but in the end the fruit is not as robust as if someone else were to work the land. As a Gen X American (and as a male) I have been trained to believe that I can do anything if I just put in the necessary time and hard work.

But this belief is contrary to the life to which Christ is calling me.

And here is where Woolman’s quote hits at the root of my existence. I am not meant to till every soil. In fact, some soil is, for me, poor soil. But for someone else it is a rich, fertile soil.

How do I learn which soils to till?

Here are some things I have learned:

1) It is OK to say NO. I don’t have to, nor should I, take every opportunity given to me. This allows others to work the soil who may not be given the chance otherwise, and it keeps me from tilling soil that is not fit for me.

2) You have to attempt to till certain soils to learn whether or not they are for you. Feel free to till certain soils, but be ready to let those go if they end up being poor soils for you.

3) When I find good soil, invest in it, really work at it to make into a beautiful garden. Any farmer will tell you that even the best soil requires a lot of work. And the work is not always joyful, but the product will be.

It is good for me to remember that whether it is good or bad soil, the work of tilling it is the same. Do you want to work on the good or the poor soil?

What about you? What have you learned about soil? Where are you tilling that perhaps is bad soil? Or what is the good soil in which you need to invest?

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