Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gardening and Independence

Several summers ago, I attempted a garden.  The endeavor was something I thought God wanted me to do, though I wasn’t sure why.  I bought all these seeds and soil and planned (but didn’t study), tilled soil, planted, watered, and never harvested a single thing.  Most of it died in the July heat.  Only one head out of three rows of lettuce ever came up at all.  I discovered that oregano blooms.  I’m still learning things from the experience. 

When I had my garden, I did it all by myself.  I’m a naturally independent person.  I have my own ideas, and I can make them happen.  But in several ways I would have had a better garden if I hadn’t been so on my own.  First, I would have read or gotten advice on how to plan a garden.  Next, I would have asked someone else to water it for the week I was gone in July.  Finally, I didn’t care.  And the reason I didn’t care what happened was because no one else cared.  There was no one else looking forward to the produce.  No one else was putting in any effort with me.  No one even asked me how it was going, or praised me for my good idea.  Everyone who knew about it just watched with amusement at my new fad project. 

There’s a TV show that was made in Great Britain decades ago called The Good Life.  A husband and wife decide to become self-sufficient without leaving their home in the suburbs of London.  Part of what makes it so exciting is that they’re doing it together.  She wants to see his idea succeed.  He wants to impress his wife.  They make a plan together, talk about their goals and their problems and their failures.  He thanks her for the hard work she puts in.  She praises him for his improvisation. 

I’ve coached Awana teams in games and Bible Quizzing, been a camp counselor, gotten together to cook for people, sidewalk counseled.  Those were all things in which I got the benefit of feeling a sense of shared purpose and effort, of everyone doing their part and experiencing the outcome together.  Community is such a blessing. 

Sometimes I wish I had someone full time who would notice the work I do.  I know that the Christian ideal is to work heartily as unto the Lord.  And I can generally do that.  I just know that I do so much better when someone else is supporting me – or criticizing me – or excited about the reason I’m doing something enough to care whether it works out or not – and helping me evaluate or troubleshoot.  I want to help other people in the same way. 

My belief is that God made families for this purpose.  And on the spiritual side, He made the church to work together in the mission of making disciples.  When this level of community happens, it’s fun and exciting and fulfilling.  Don’t you want it, too? 

To God be all glory. 

No comments: