The Back Forty

Raised Garden

Actually I only own two acres and so having a back forty is not just impractical, it is inaccurate. My space that I am writing about is the back 48, as in 48 square feet. It all started last week when Aaron and I decided to pretend that we were farmers and built a raised bed vegetable garden. I loaded the top of my MINI with lumber to build an 8×6 bed and hauled dirt for the garden (1,250 pounds to be exact. I had to make three trips to the store loading the back of the car with fifty pound bags). Four hours, and several tomato, cucumber, squash and pepper plants later we are now farmers. Clark supplied several tomato plants that he had started from seed, so we are excited to see them grow.

The work of farming is really just beginning. There is the matter of keeping the plants watered and fertilized and of course chasing squirrels, rabbits and other varmints out. We hope for a harvest by this summer, but much of the joy is in the process. I am a firm believer that everyone ought to grow something, whether it is an heirloom tomato plant or a geranium. For several years now we have been growing weeds in our lawn and to my delight I found out that the definition of a weed is any unwanted plant. By changing my outlook I now no longer have weeds – just one large, diverse collection of various grass species.

Growing things is practically Biblical. In Genesis 1:28 – “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it…” The implication in this text is to care for the earth. Later in the same passage God looked over the creation and called it “very good.”

Last week I began a series entitled: “Issues the Church Should Care About.” This week we will look at caring for the creation. We hear much in popular media about environmentalism and such, but I find many such terms limiting and misleading. The issue is not a political one but a theological one. Just as we are to care for ourselves and our neighbor so are we to care for God’s creation. It is a matter of stewardship and love. Earth Day (observed April 22) is not merely one time a year for the believer. Every day is earth day and every day we arise to the gift of God’s creation entrusted to us.

To prepare for this sermon I invite you to visit your favorite nursery, buy a plant and take care of it. And when you do, remember the One who blessed creation and give thanks.

Grace be with you,


1 Comment

  1. Greg! You’ve been googled! And I found you! Of course, I kind of already knew where you were, but I actually decided I should seek you out.

    You see, this is weird. Last week I found an old clipping from one of your newsletters that I had kept, titled “A Self-Imposed Exile.” I enjoyed it because I thought even though I’m not the pastor of a church, it would be good to take a couple days to study, pray, read, meditate etc. But I am way too distracted and interupted as well, so that column was helpful to me.

    So then, today, my Outlook calendar gives me a reminder that tomorrow is your birthday. (I put them all in from our Leadership Cobb list).

    So, happy birthday – I hope you have a great one, and I hope that you and your family are all doing well. We miss you around the ol’ neighborhood.

    Take care,
    David Layman

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