Archive for February, 2008

I have thought several times that, given time, I would like to write a book on many of the things we learn about God and life through creation. This is one of those observations.

Most of us enjoy a quiet, scenic drive in the country where we see green pastures with cattle or horses out in the field. It creates longings in many of us. Oh, for such a life of serenity.

But look closer at that pasture and what you will see is something that is abnormal … something that is anti-creational. Whether it’s a green pasture or a corn field or soybeans or cotton, this is known as a mono-crop. Conventional farmers work hard to get such results. Now, compare that to an open field that hasn’t been touched by the modern farmer and you will find scores of plants, flowers, and weeds all growing together. In other words, it’s not a mono-crop; it’s a field of diversity. This is how God grows things … with great diversity.

But why? Is there something wrong with mono-crops? It sure looks good. Yes, there is something very wrong with mono-crops. That pretty field with the horses? The only way to get such a mono-crop of fescue or rye or bermuda or orchard grass is that one plant draws certain nutrients from the soil while ignoring others. In time, those nutrients get depleted in the soil and the only way to replace them is to buy chemicals. Otherwise, you can’t keep whatever mono-crop you’ve grown, alive and growing. In other words, it makes that farmer chemically dependent on manufacturers. (Don’t we spend millions every year trying to get people OFF chemical dependency?). Oh, I guess it depends on what kind of chemicals we’re talking about. Illegal drugs mean the manufacturers aren’t getting their financial shares. But when it comes to fertilizers, that’s another story. And don’t those fields look pretty?

But with a field of diversity, the plants all complement each other. What one plant removes, another replaces. So the soil stays healthy. It might not look as pretty to someone who has been trained to see the mono-crop as beautiful. But then, God isn’t into “beauty” as much as the world. Remember? Isaiah said of Jesus, the Savior of the World, in chapter 53:2, For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground;He has no stately formĀ or majesty that we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” Jesus was a plain, ordinary-looking man. Not a handsome, GQ kind of guy.

You have to dig deeper to see the beauty of God’s work. And you have to dig deeper in the soil too. Like the world in which we live, our culture is focused on making the outside look pretty, even though it may be destroying what is going on beneath the surface, down in the soil. But the beauty of God’s work may look plain on top, but down below there is a symbiotic relationship going on with all the micronutrients that keep the soil rich and fertile. Jesus would call this the Good Soil, in a parable about the heart.

So how does all this relate to God in creation? Visit almost any church in America and you will find … a mono-crop. Basically the same socio-economic band of members. Oh, there may be a few token differences regarding race, but there are more similarities among such people than there are differences. But when you get a church filled with a mono-crop, you have the same people who have the same basic outlook on life, the same basic life experiences, the same financial or educational goals, drive the same kind of cars, live in the same kind of houses, and on and on and on. It may look good on the surface, but it stifles the genuine health of such a body of believers. Want to have wisdom in now to relate to other people in your community? Have a church filled with people who cover the gammet on the socio-economic spectrum and you can get it. You’ll hear from someone you know in Bible Study class of their struggles … whether you’re looking up the socio-economic ladder or down it.

Perhaps this is a big part of the reason why the Church as a whole is becoming increasingly irrlevant in society. It looks good on the surface to walk into a growing, blowing church. But if it’s a mono-crop, the soil is pretty poor. We can’t see it, but the world around us senses it; there’s something missing.

We would do well to look at a field being grown by God and follow His lead in our churches. Perhaps then, when the world sees the Love for each other that Jesus said we are to have, a love that crosses all the socio-economic, racial, historical, and lifestyle differences to find our common ground at the Cross, they will see a “field of believers” who, while not looking very pretty on the surface, will have a depth that is rich in all the qualities found in the person of Christ.


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