In my new little adventure of “wannabe homesteader” I have discovered a magical thing called compost. Do you know it? You cannot read an article about gardening without reading all about compost. It’s everywhere you look if growing something is on your radar. Compost. I am certainly no expert but I have put on my muckiest boots, held my nose and waded into the world of compost. First and foremost, I had to get a container to hold said magical compost So…
Look at this adorable little compost bucket… It is so cute and clean on the outside with its neat lettering and sealed lid. It even sits out on the counter in my kitchen, in plain view, because it is so presh.
By the looks of it you would never know what is inside. So what is inside, you might ask. What is compost? Compost is all the stuff I used to throw away in the kitchen. Now, I place it in my cute little bucket. Cut the tops off the strawberries for the kids’ lunch? Throw it in. Coffee grounds from yesterday’s life-giving pot? Toss it in. Egg shells from the pancake batter on Sunday? Yep. In. Potato skins, banana peels, the salad that got gross before you could use it all, the apple core, the smushy pear no one will eat, the ends of the carrots…. All in. And once a day or so, I take my cute little bucket out to a hole by the garden and toss it in.. You know what else? Pull some weeds …Add them to the pile. Clean out the chicken coop…. Throw it in. Sweep up the bunny courtyard…. gather it up because it goes in the compost pile too. Have some hay that got moldy and wet? Perfect! Compost. Now, I know there is a science to all of this that I am not completely aware of. There are PH balances and acid levels and such that I know nothing about. I know that I don’t know exactly. What I do know is that you can throw all of this smelly, stinky waste into a hole in the yard and you end up with magic… Slimy, gross, rank USEFUL magic.
All of this composting got me thinking about a couple of things in my own life. First of all, aren’t I like that cute little green bucket sometimes? I can be all put together on the outside, clean and shiny, fit for any countertop. I can have a lid so securely fitted on that no one can catch a wiff of what is rotting on the inside. Maybe it is sin that no one sees. My words and my smile might be covering up the stink of my attitude. My thoughts may be far from lovely but my outside is picture-perfect Sunday school ready. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 23:27-28 when he said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Maybe the lid is not covering our sin, but it is covering our hurt, our insecurities, our confusion, our pain. We can tidy it all up for the outside world, but we know that inside we are a miry mess. But, I have learned that the shiny bucket can just hold so much waste before the lid will no longer neatly fit on and the smell is evident to all who come near.
So what do we do with our mess? What is the point of all of this compost? Where is the magic in the mire? Well, compost is indeed the magic ingredient in growing good things. After all of this waste has been piled up, a good gardener knows how to work it. He knows to add green waste on food waste and to keep it moist. He knows how to turn it over and over until it is ready to use. When it has all broken down and decomposed from it’s orginal form of apple core or egg shell, those nutrients are added to the soil around it and trash has truly become gardening treasure. A scoop of this compound can feed plants for months Who need pricey nursery fertilizer when I have all of these kids and animal producing all this waste?
God is called many things in the Bible. He is our Heavenly Father, the Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Great I Am, and so many others. But, I think one of my favorite roles that God plays in the Bible is that of Farmer. Psalm 65:9-11 paints this beautiful picture: “You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry; they provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.” In Matthew 13 we find the parable of the sower where Jesus tells of a farmer who sows seed onto different soil with different results. We know that the Farmer is God the Father and the seed is His Word. In John 15 we read about Jesus being the true Vine and we are the branches that must abide in Him to produce any fruit in our lives. God is a Farmer, the original gardener, grower of good things, author of life.
What would happen if we were brave enough to give all of our mess and junk to this good Farmer? What if we opened up the lid on our sin and let Him use it? I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” He will not only forgive, but he will grow something new from it. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!” What if we gave Him the shame and dirtiness of our pasts? Handed Him those bad decisions from high school? Gave Him our regrets over that girl we were in college. What if we were to toss Him those years of marriage where we were a hot mess? What about the days we couldn’t get it together and we yelled at small children who in no way deserved it? What about those places where our needs have never been met, our insecurities paralyze us, our ugliness is rotten? It can all go in the compost pile. We can trust God the Farmer to know how to work our mess so that it can be turned into a life-giving sustenance. What if He feeds an entire generation with the seeds grown in our compost? He will produce a harvest and He can use our muck and mire to grow something beautiful. You see, we can try to keep a lid on all of it and make sure nothing leaks out of the sides. We can clean it up for awhile. In the bucket it is just a smelly heap of waste. But in the hands of the great gardener it can produce life for ourselves and others for the glory of God. Be of good courage, tell your story, fess up to your mess, look for seedlings to fertilize in the Kingdom. Trust Him with your smushy pears and rotten lettuce…. and watch the beautiful harvest that is coming.