Have you ever been the answer to someone’s prayer? Or maybe you’ve been the solution someone needs for their problem. If you were led by God to do something through your walk with Christ, then you know the confirmation and excitement you feel to be used in such a way.
For at least 6 months to a year I have been thinking about a new ministry for me. I know I already have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, but I can’t stop thinking about this new one. One of the ways God confirms things for me is obsession. If I can’t get rid of a thought, then I start to pray and research what it would take to accomplish the thought. I am a dreamer. I have a million ideas a day, but they are usually short lived. If it’s from God I can’t shake it. It’s one of the ways he speaks to me.
By now, I’m sure you would like me to get to the point. I am sure you want to know what this new haunting ministry is. Well. I want to feed the poor. Sounds pretty simple, huh? Nothing with me ever ends up being simple.
For a while now I have felt a need to provide food for the poor. It is something I have literally been thinking about for years. I used to walk the train tracks looking for homeless people to bring supplies to. Sometimes, I would fill my bag with scarfs and gloves. Other times it might have been underwear, soap, toilet paper or even canned food. The more I went the more I saw the size of the problem.
Maybe that was a letdown. All that build up just to buy some green beans and deliver them to the food pantry? Not quite. The idea I have and the thing continually coming back to me is this: I want to farm some land to feed the poor. The dream would be to work a 40 acre plot growing many different varieties of food for people who too often only eat from a can or a drive through.
Today the dream is one step closer to reality. I am posting this on June 8, 2014. It’s a Sunday. While you are in church today I am out busting sod and hoping to plant the first crop to feed some people in the Nixa area. It’s nothing major. The plan is simply to grow a large supply of green beans for the local food pantry. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
As I said, I have been thinking about this for a long time. A bout a month ago I actually started talking to some people about it. Before long I had gathered some information and felt like it was time to start looking for a small piece of land. My hope had been to find a half acre lot in town with no building on it that I could till up and plan an urban garden. I asked a realtor friend to help me look for some land. Then came the sticker shock. There was no way the ministry could afford to buy a spot of land at this time. Land seems to be selling from 10,000 to 35,000 an acre in the area. I thought the dream was on the back burners for a while.
Then I got a text. “You could use some of our land to get started.” A friend who I had talked some of the plans over with was offering a chance! I thought about some borrowed land for a while. It wasn’t my first choice. But in then I thought it was better to start then sit so I took the opportunity. Last week we looked over a spot and made some arrangements. As this is being published I am headed out to cut through some ground. My hope is that by the late afternoon the first crop of food for the poor will be planted.
There is going to be a lot of work in this. It won’t be easy, but honestly, I need a good physical challenge in my ministry. I need a part of my ministry to break my back. I need something with has a tangible result. Open farmland before. Food for the poor now. I know there will be problems along the way, but every dream has a beginning.
Too often we look at a dream and only pay attention to the end result. I could have said no to borrowing my friend’s land because it doesn’t meet the end result I am hoping for. I could have said no because I am starting with 5000 square feet instead of a full 40 acres. There any number of things that could keep me from starting. I am busy. I am tired. I am two days away from a weeklong trip. It’s late in the year to start. None of these things matter though. Because I am headed for the goal.
One of the big fears I had was how I would connect the food with the people who need it. I called the food pantry I had in mind. I explained the plan and how this was just a small scale experiment, but I would want to bring them any food we can get grow. The woman I talked to told me they had just completed a survey of the family’s they serve. The number one request was for fresh produce. She told me my call could not have been timelier. I was a solution to their need. My friend is an answer to my prayer, even if it’s not the answer I expected or wanted.
I hope as you read this I am covered head to toe in dirt and grass from busting up the sod. I hope there are seeds in the ground. I hope in a few weeks I will start delivering some food to people who need it. But most of all I hope I can challenge you.
So many of us have things we would like to do for God. We have grand plans and ambitions to serve him or change the world. That is great! But often the size of the dream is enough to kill it. We miss the point. What is the end result we want to see from our ministry ideas and goals? Does it really matter how we get there? Have you taken a first step to get there?
We often forget that every dream and ministry and service we offer to God has to have a beginning line. It has to have a start. We often don’t want to be the one who starts it. We may tell others of what God has been shown to us hoping they will start. (Ministers get this all the time. “Someone should…” the conversation always starts…)
The beginning is always hard, but the reward in the doing hard things for God is so much deeper and richer than anything else we experience. Yes it’s hard. Yes it’s different than what you hope the end result will be. You have to start. Sometimes you just have to dig in. Sometimes you have to bust sod.