Barbara Laymon

Praying and blogging along the way

Changing up the to-do list

January 29, 2011

Tags: Functioning, 1 John, Matthew

Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
A pioneer farmer goes to church one Sunday after a long week plowing the fields. He has spent years working the land, and although his forty acres – once a wilderness of trees, overgrowth, and mosquitoes – was somewhat tamed, it still required his every waking moment. He listens to the preacher wax on about the perfection of God and God’s handiwork. As the farmer is leaving, the preacher, shaking his hand and noticing the tiredness around his eyes, attempts an encouraging word. “Brother Steve, I was out past your place just the other day. Your farm looks beautiful.”
“Yep,” says the farmer. “Thank you preacher. You should have seen it when God had it.”
If God’s creation is any reflection of God’s character, God does seem to have a high tolerance for chaos. God might even be seen to have a preference for chaos, for uncontrolled growth, for letting things go, and even for allowing error (or sin) into the universe. The farmer, though, is stuck. Chaos for him means no crops, no food, no life. Perhaps the green movement would say that the farmer should have lived off the land differently, in harmony with the chaotic universe. And although there may be some truth in that, it misses the point, the reason that the joke evokes a laugh, an immediate recognition of a deeper truth: God’s ways are not our ways.
How, then, are we to be called the children of God? Knowing that we have to eat, how do we live on this earth in a manner that is consistent with a God who invites us to live a life unencumbered by the problems of this world? How do we have the faith that considers the lilies of the valley, which neither toil nor spin? (more…)