Friday, October 29, 2010

Gardening in the Kingdom

Several weeks ago, I began a long range yard-work project. Bermuda grass was beginning to take over my front lawn. Bermuda grass is a very invasive, tough weed. So, we began a project to eradicate the presence of Bermuda grass in my yard. However, like other weeds, where there are herbicides that can kill a particular weed, there is no herbicide that specializes in Bermuda grass. Round-Up will kill it; but then Round-Up kills everything. To remove Bermuda grass, a person must kill everything and replant.

So, several weeks ago, I gave several applications of round-Up to approximately a 250 square yard triangle in my front yard. Killing everything was the easy part.

We investigated, got advice, and came up with a plan of action. We implemented said plan. And we achieved zero success. Zero grass.

So, we have investigated more, gotten more advice, and came up with a new plan of action, that involved more work, more expense, more aches, pains and scraped knuckles. This plan involved roto-tilling, raking and removing several hundred pounds of dead cellulose. (Ie. old dead plant material. If one could sell old, dead plant material, I could retire.) Since, we have just executed this plan, I have no idea how successful it will be.

I have often compared the church-planting/evangelization process with the process of planting a garden. There is cultivation of the ground, sowing seed, weeding, watering, fertilizing, harvesting and storing the produce.

There is a lot of labor involved in harvesting. But it does not come close to the labor of cultivating the ground. The real back-breaking labor comes from breaking up the soil, removing unwanted rocks and vegetation, churning the soil again and again, so it is ready to receive the seed. If this is true in a physical setting, why are we surprised that it should not be so in a spiritual setting?

I have heard people find the current church lacking because it has not harvested like the first century church. They saw 3000 people choose to follow Jesus the first time Peter preached. Yes, I am sure the Spirit coming at Pentecost had something to do with it. But the same Spirit is here now. A real difference between then and now is that Jesus spent the previous several years breaking up the ground, praying, living, loving, modeling, sowing God’s word, watering and fertilizing. Jesus harvested little in comparison to the Apostles. But he did the more difficult work without there can be no harvest.

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