plough to the end of the field
Rough weeding is done and the plants are in. I am working my way back over all the ground to detail weed, and it occurred to me last night that, before this spring is over, I will have touched every square inch of this garden with my bare hands. I will have crawled along behind the Roses of Sharon, stretched under the peach and cherry trees, and bent low along the fence line to pluck the unwanted greenery stem by stem. I will have lifted the feathery stalks of the carrots, followed weedy stems to their base among the strawberry plants, and pinched or scraped the thousands of wort-like weeds off the ground under the persimmon tree.
It seems a form of consecration. I've always thought I wanted to have a relationship with land--to have a piece of turf that I knew well enough that I could recognize every inhabitant, including the ones that pass through seasonally. In order to do this, I have to know the soil, the worms, the insects, the plants, the birds. Intimate weeding has brought me closer to this place. And shown me the extent of involvement needed for the garden to flourish.
Spurgeon said, "Let us always plow to the very end of the field, and serve our day and generation to the extreme limits of our sphere."
Plowing to the end of the field involves both breadth and depth. The intimate knowledge and whole-hearted involvement in every square inch of our sphere is the best we can offer. We can do no more, but must determine to not do any less.
A teacher recently challenged me as to where the concept of a "calling" is in the scriptures.
"Make your calling...sure," is about salvation.
"The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance," is specifically about the Jewish people.
There are principles, yes, but the idea that we have one life-long calling or purpose is difficult to find. The sphere(of influence) Spurgeon references can change for us as we travel through the stages of life. The important thing is to commit to what is before you, and plow. And plow.
Just as I see myself consecrating the garden with the touch of my hands, the field I'm in needs the same consecration...friends, family, fellowship, To the utter ends of the field.
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