It’s growing season here in Northern Indiana. As I look around and see area farmers out in their fields, several different thoughts have come to mind. In the fall, after the crops are in and in early spring, there is a lot of prep work to get a field ready. The dead remains of last years crop is tilled under along with any weeds that have started to grow. In our own garden, the ground has been tilled, fruit trees have been sprayed for bugs and fungus, and some light pruning was done to remove any unhealthy sucker branches.
No matter how you look at it, before planting and growing can begin, the dead and unhealthy things have to be dealt with or removed.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Are there things in our life that needs to be pruned? Old wounds, sin, anything that needs to be “tilled under” in order to become healthy and fruitful? Things that need to be released and let go of?
Before planting begins it is not uncommon to see farmers add nutrients to the soil. Sometimes lime is spread on a field to control the ph and neutralize the acidity. Often manure or chemical fertilizer is added to enrich the soil and replace nutrients that may have been depleted by the previous crop. Too much fertilizer can have a negative effect. In addition to the soil preparation, farmers decide what crops to plant. Most will rotate their crops. Corn this year, soy beans next year as a way to slow down the nutrient depletion. It takes the right amount of seed to produce healthy but not overcrowded crops. If you plant to much, too close together, or don’t rotate the crops from year to year, harvest yields will diminish. You have to know when enough is really enough.
Genesis 1:26-27; 31 Genesis 2:1-3
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
Just like an artist who knows when to lay the brush down and stop painting his masterpiece, God knew when to stop creating. He is inviting us to stop, to trust that we are made in his image, with his likeness within us. It’s not about what we do but who we are and whose we are. God looked at Adam and Eve, and calls them very good. Before they had done or produced anything, it was tov meod! Very good! It’s not about how much we do or produce.
Winding down the spring semester and heading into summer, we may be tempted to over schedule ourselves with supporters/support raising, summer meetings with students, preparation for fall, family plans, trips, etc.
Do I make myself too busy? Am I taking time to replenish the depleted soil? What things do I need to remove from my schedule and say no to? Do I know when enough is enough?
Once the seeds are planted and have begun to grow cultivation is usually needed or weed control chemicals added to keep the weeds from choking out the crops. The right combination of rain, sun, and heat are needed for healthy plants and a good harvest.
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
We have to be purposeful in cultivating our connection to the Father through Christ. This is the nourishment of our soul and can’t be neglected or the demands of campus ministry and support raising will choke us out like weeds will do to a garden.
Is there anything I have been neglecting in my personal pursuit of Christ? Are there any disciplines I can incorporate that I may not have tried or implemented in my life? How can I refuel in preparation for the return of students in the fall? Reflect upon this for a few minutes and type in your thoughts, prayers, and Scriptures in the comments section.