I grew up a city kid. The Baltimore harbor-front was my turf. I was in a teenage gang; but we all were in those days; that’s just the way it was. Through my father’s business acquaintances I found a friendship in my total opposite—a farm boy, Asa Sharp. When our families would visit their farm in rural Maryland, Asa and I would always escape to the barn where we would build tunnels & forts through the hay bales. It was a miracle we weren’t killed by their collapsing on top of us.
From below the hay-loft, where the cows were milked, there arose such an awful stench! From the other end of the cow. The cows were making fertilizer…, at no extra cost to the farmer. The smell was so horrible I asked Asa how he ever stood it! He replied “What smell?” (I much preferred the aroma of oil slicks & refuse floating in the Baltimore harbor. The scent of home!)
This past week I received probably the oddest compliment of my life. A well known individual, commenting on a lecture I had just delivered, Growing a postChristian Faith, remarked that I was fertilizer! Now, not a few people have oft noted that they thought I was full of it (it being, well, you know). But this comment went way beyond that; I was no longer merely full-of-it, I WAS IT!
This gentleman went on to remind me that the purpose of fertilizer is to add nutrients to the soil so the seeds can grow. Fertilizer nurtured the seed planted to make both the ground and the young plant more vibrant and full of life. Truly, when I understood, it was probably one of the highest compliments I had ever been paid.
That led me to wonder how many of us are fertilizer to our friends, family, and work associates— nurturing them, feeding their growth, and providing an environment for their healthy journey to maturity? Fertilizing the soil, to receive the seed takes a lot more work. First you need the cows; then you need to feed them; then you need to clean up after them when they make a mew of things; then you need to let their mess sit around a bit, ‘till it settles (sound familiar?); finally, you need to spread their manure all over a freshly tilled field. THEN, you get to plant the seed. Then, you wait for God to work His miracles. It’s just so more natural to yell and scream, to confront and condemn, to cast blame and to judge…, and to simply dump @#$& on people, isn’t it!?! Right, that will produce positive results.
Have a nice week.