Tuesday, May 24, 2016

God Makes It Grow

Our daughter has recently discovered Ancestry.ca and we are having fun watching her discover and explore our family roots.  My family has farming roots on both sides dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

Remarkably, my great-grandfathers chose to homestead across the road from each other.  In both cases, they cleared and 'broke' the land that eventually continues to produce crops that have sustained and provided for families for generations.

My maternal grandfather spent most of his life on as a farmer. In the years after he retired from farming, he would often become nostalgic about his years on the farm.  I recall him telling me how 'the land smells different in the spring' and that the 'scent of spring' always brought him hope for a good harvest.

On my last trip to Toronto, I watched the city shift from winter (it was snowing when I arrived) to spring (the temp hit 20C) later in the week) and while the 'scent of spring' is certainly different there than what my grandfather referenced, the 'scent of spring' was still in the air.

I've been having a significant shift in my thinking over the past months.  For most of my ministry career, I would view the teachings of Jesus through a grid that said 'Jesus lived in an agrarian culture, but this is what this means today...' More and more, I am coming to conclude that the best way to understand how God works is through an agrarian grid.

(Imagine that... it really is the way Jesus says it is!!)

As I look at our work across the country, here's what I see....

We have faithfully tilled the land that God has given us in BC and today we see tremendous fruit coming out of the relationships we have nurtured on both sides of the House.  We are humbled and thankful for God's mercy and goodness to us.

Our path has been different in AB.  The ground has been harder and the work has been tiring but we are starting to see the earth turn from brown to green with the advent of another spring.  This gives us hope that soon we will see blossoms that will turn to fruit.

Saskatchewan continues to flourish.  We were blessed with a network of relationships when we arrived and by God's grace have been able to build upon them.  With an election comes an entirely new set of opportunities and possibilities. We are excited about what God has in store for us in Saskatchewan.

Ontario is in a different and unique place. In many ways, the ground has never been tilled.  This is both a challenge (as we cast vision, create awareness and lay a foundation) and an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and to build on our successes.  While it's true that the culture is different, it's equally true that leaders still need someone to support, encourage and minister to them. What I find most exciting about Ontario is that there is a clear sense of the need for this in the church and a generally warm reception among those who lead.  While it won't be easy, we have a bright future in Ontario.

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