The Jesus Way
“Brent is a gentleman farmer. He lives on 50 acres being reclaimed into prairie and woodlands. That mean he raises grass and trees. Now, as I understand it, grass grows on its own. And trees do, too. So he gets to sit and watch them and read books and think deep thoughts. My thought is -- 'That's the kind of farmer I want to be!'”
That’s how I was introduced prior to giving a speech one time. Everybody chuckled, of course, including me. It was a witty introduction. But part of it nagged at me a bit and I remember it from time to time whilst working the farm this weekend.
Yes, the thousands of trees that have been planted over the years will grow on their own -- so long as they’re kept free of weed entanglement and damage from deer who like to munch on tender young shoots or rub the bark of young trees. That means weeding, mowing, and tying strips of dryer fabric softener sheets on each sapling. Let me tell you, that's a lot of cutting and tying. And the prairie has to be burned to kill off the woody growth and destroy weeds.
That, in part, is what I’m called to do. But before I was called to that work, I had to be convinced it was important spiritual work. Otherwise, I was just being another do-gooder. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not a natural do-gooder.
My first conscious efforts toward earthcare as intentionally spirit work began small. Little things like getting rid of incandescent lightbulbs, wrapping the water heater in a cover, buying a high mpg car, buying energy efficient appliances when the old ones needed replaced. Tiny steps for a tiny soul.
As my soul grew, and an opportunity came to build a house, we designed it to be energy-efficient from its 6 inch thick insulated sidewalls, 8-inch thick insulated roof, triple insulated windows, geothermal heating and cooling system and more. Now, this wasn’t cheap. Which kept grating my desire to live simply. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it. I could. But rubbed up against another faith matter – earth care/simple living.
Which is the thing about the Jesus’ way. It’s not so easy sometimes. The values it gives us sometimes fit easily together. Other times, not so much.
What’s a person of faith to do?
There is no one answer that fits all of us. Which is part of the delight and frustration of being friends of Jesus. We are called to determine, with divine assistance, what is ours to do in this world. About peace. Justice. Truth. Simplicity. Care for the earth.
So what God is calling you to do? What feels right in your life. What fits – not what is forced. -- is truly from God. It will persist. It won’t let you go. It will work on your soul. It will also
- come with a sense of joy
- feel life-giving, not life-draining
- give you the power and will to actually do it!
Excerpt from Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love by Brent Bill