This morning I read a quote by Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero that launched my mind into multiple directions.
Romero wrote, “We plant seeds that one day grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promises. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.”
As Christians, we really are in the business of kingdom building. It is our job to facilitate the in-breaking of God’s kingdom. To do this we plant seeds!
It is our job to offer culture a radically different way to do life. It is our job of doing the hard work of knowing and loving people.
And, I say all the time that God rarely allows us to see the end results of our work. Come to think of it, we may never see the end results of our work in our lifetime.
Sometimes, it can be discouraging to feel that we are working in a vacuum. In other words, we labor with all our might in the Lord’s vineyard and consider that much of the time nothing may have become of it.
It certainly may feel this way to us but I am convinced that when it comes to labors for Christ there is no such thing as wasted effort. He will insure that the ripples of our work will extend forever.
I do not know who said it but I am partial to the statement that we are all resting and enjoying the shade from trees that we did not plant. From a certain point of view, none of us can claim the distinction of being self-made people.
I laugh when I consider the poverty that I came out of. Shall we say that my family fit nicely into one of Jeff Foxworthy’s comedy routines!
“You might be a redneck if you have one or more appliances on your porch and you think this is a status symbol.”
I never thought of it as a status symbol but we had a washer and a freezer on our porch! You can’t hide money! (This is facetiousness.)
But, when you peel back the layers, my family owned the house and the land it sat upon. The land did generate enough income for a scant existence by producing cotton, corn and dairy products.
Yes indeed my family worked hard by sweat of the brow;and, I take nothing away from that. I confess that today my brothers and I are enjoying the shade from trees that we did not plant.
But, it was the Creator who gave my family the opportunity to own the land and to farm it. It was the Creator who gave my family good health, the physical capabilities to do manual labor, who brought the rains needed to grow the crops, who provided for their safety.
No one turned my family down for a farm loan. John Deere sold us a tractor on credit.
No one in my family was born in a crack house. Nobody was gunned down from a drive-by shooting. No one was told where they could live, eat, sleep or do life.
Come to think of it, I suppose we were not all that poor. Back in the day that life was sort of standard for folks like us.
In some ways it has been a difficult pill to swallow…that my family and I are not all that self-made. If the banks and John Deere had not offered credit we’d have lived on what my grandfather called the poor farm. We were given tons of shade right out of the starting gate of life.
The U.S. Navy planted more seeds that brought more shade. The Navy gave my father a craft that was useful in civilian life. Doors opened for him after World War II. And, there was even more shade for my brothers and me.
I think Archbishop Oscar Romero is right! “We plant seeds that one day grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promises.”
Is there a better mission for life?
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…But his delight is in the law of the LORD. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither (Psalm 1:a, 2a & 3 NIV).”