Our back yard is bad. But it’s getting better. Here’s how.

Actually, for the most part, it’s a great back yard. There are trees and bushes, flowers and flora one or more of which seem to be in a bloom cycle all year round. This is true even during winter. Neither Lynn nor I can really take credit for this feature as the first owner of the house was an aggressive and enthusiastic gardener. Her name was Mrs. Walker. She even had a five-foot by nine-foot garden inside the house! It had its own ecosystem under our roof. We removed that and gained 45 additional square feet in the middle of the back room. In addition, we thinned out the plants outside, some intentionally and others not, but there are still many to bloom and they seem to flourish. Mrs. Walker did a great job.

Still, the grass in the back yard is terrible. Part of the yard has thick grass. Another large part of the yard has nothing but dirt and rocks. Another part of the yard has St. Augustine grass and I have no idea what kind is elsewhere. With an entire wall of windows facing the backyard, mowing dirt and rocks become an adventure. Fingers are crossed and breath is held all in the hopes that rocks don’t hit the window as the mower goes by.

We decided to change all of this. With some investigation and calculation and just simply preferring the cool green grass to the adventure of dusty dry dirt, we bought grass seed. It’s cheaper than replacing windows in the house and less expensive than laying down sod which is grass that someone else grew. But here’s the thing with a bag of grass seed. It does no good when it is in the bag. It needs to be scattered. Not only does it need to be scattered, but it also needs to be scattered liberally. And then the scattering needs to be followed up with water, and more water and patience and water. But after some time, all of a sudden there is grass. Our back yard is getting better and becoming transformed. That’s how. The key? Don’t keep the seed in the bag.

There is something to this biblically. I remember reading the question in Haggai 2:19, “Is the seed yet in the barn?” The Lord told Haggai to ask this of the people of Israel. People were building their own homes and neglecting the temple. As a result, even though they had sown much for themselves, they reaped little and were always in need. They would not be satisfied until the sowing they did was for the kingdom.

And there is more of this sowing in both the Old and the New Testaments. Those captured and brought to Babylon did not keep the seed to themselves. Because of that, we have the Magi visiting Bethlehem. Jonah, as much as he fought back, in the end, did scatter seed and what a harvest that was. Jesus always speaks of sowing seed liberally, everywhere. He sent the 72 to sow the seed. And when the saints in Jerusalem in the book of Acts were scattered because of dangers faced, they did not keep the seed, which is the Word, to themselves. Even in the persecution, they scattered the seed.

The question then is, what are we doing today with the seed which is the Word of God? Are we gathering or are we scattering? Are we holding on to it for ourselves, keeping it in the barn, or are we spreading it liberally to the dry and dusty places where the Word is needed most and where it may actually grow?

As Lynn and I steward our backyard a transformation is taking place before our eyes. We remark often at how amazing it is to see new growth in places we’ve never seen before. To be sure, there is still work to be done and there is still seed to be sown but what a pleasure to watch the transformation of our back yard.

Even more exciting is to see the transformation of a community or an apartment complex or an oil field all because the seed is sown without caution.

By Rev. Steve Misch
Mission and Ministry Facilitator, Area A