Last weekend it was out with the old and in with the new. I am referring to my small raised-bed vegetable garden. I cleared out the old tomato vines and pepper plants and reconditioned the soil with a mixture of horse manure and organic fertilizer. Finally it was ready for my fall planting and so I set out a few cabbage plants and scattered seed for collard greens.
Collard greens! I love that plant; especially boiled on a stovetop with a healthy slab of fatback or ham hocks (I am not picky). We eat them on New Year’s Day because it is tradition, but from Fall through Winter we eat them because we like them. Actually, just Amy and I like them. Neither of my boys can get past the smell. I was the same way when I was their age, but one day they will grow out of it. Collard greens may smell bed, but they are good for you and a meal unto themselves if accompanied by a generous wedge of cornbread. They are, as my daddy is fond of saying, “good for what ails you.”
The best part of keeping a garden is the anticipation. Every day I walk out and look at the seeds half expecting full grown plants. Of course at the time of this writing the seeds have only been in the ground a few days. Still, the waiting and the expecting is part of the journey.
Much of what we do in this world is about planting and anticipating. Too often we rush to the end result not realizing that God has not asked us to be successful, prosperous or “winners.” God has asked that we be faithful. Faithful – what a liberating word. It means the future is not in my hands. It means my observed successes or failures are not how I will be measured. It means that my talents, gifts or the lack of my talents and gifts are not the sum of my worth. God has simply invited me to be faithful in the living of my days.
It is our invitation as a church. This Sunday we conclude our stewardship focus and I am giving you my invitation early: Let go of the graven images of the old – definitions of success, struggles for power, notions of triumphalism – and enter into God’s call for faithfulness.
Paul writes to the congregation in Corinth: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (I Corinthians 3:6-7)
Live the life God has called you to live and do not worry how others will measure you. That is God’s business. May it be so for each of us and our beloved community we call the church.
Peace be with you,