Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Green Thumb (Nathan Wagner)

Tonight, we have another thought provoking piece by fellow WCS teacher/coach and fellow Harding alumni, Nathan Wagner!

I grew up among the cornfields of Indiana.  For over fifteen years, I lived in a house surrounded by corn, soybean, pigs, and cows. Needless to say, the hot summer breeze from down the road was less than pleasant. One time for my brother's birthday, we got to ride in one of the giant combines that plows the corn. While I love and desperately miss the idyllic setting of the cornfield, I never imagined I would be a farmer.

Until this summer. This summer, my wife, Vicki, and I went to Ukraine to teach English using the Gospel of Luke. I can't recall what I originally expected that to be like, but it quickly became the Parable of the Sower brought to life. Local Ukrainians would come to us to practice their conversational English. We would read a passage from Luke, ask them questions, and discuss the "deeper" concepts that might stem from those questions. Nothing is forced, and sometimes we didn't get too deep. The language barrier was a real obstacle at times.

But the parallels with the parable were unmistakable.  One woman came to meet with me specifically because we were both English teachers. At the first meeting she told me she didn't want to read the Bible. So we just talked. Others would come and read, but I could tell it made them uncomfortable. They would squirm in their seats and avoid questions. A few would come intermittently but miss morning sessions because they had been out late with friends.  Some seemed to show interest, but only time will tell if they followed up once the Americans were gone.

Today, the sower would never make it in the modern-day world of efficiency farming. In the parable, the sower kept throwing his seeds on rocky ground on thorny ground on the hardened path. He didn't till rows and bury the seeds in the ground he judged best. He just tossed it around everywhere. The sower didn't care about the quality of the ground because he knew the quality of the Seed.  He knew that when the seed took to the good soil it would produce a harvest many times over.

My trip to Ukraine reminded me that God only asks me to throw the seed, to spread it as far and wide as I can. He takes care of the pruning, watering, and growing process. He only asks that I plant. I came home this summer with a renewed confidence in my ability to sow and a refreshed perspective of the Seed.

Of course we found good soil, too.

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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