Last week I read the extraordinary story of a family-owned business that turns pineapple tops into biodegradable plates. Bonus: after you use the plates, throw some dirt and water on them, and new pineapples will sprout!
That got me thinking about consuming versus cultivating.
We all are consumers. We need food to eat, clothes to wear, shelter from the elements.
But we also should be cultivators. Sadly, we do very little of that.
I’m not talking about growing raised-bed gardens in your back yard.
Consuming is concerned with my needs first. Cultivating is concerned with others’ needs first. Cultivating benefits me too, but secondarily.
We consume time when we should cultivate it.
How often does your use of “your” time serve only you? It’s not wrong to watch a good movie to relax, but are you gaming when you could use that time for something that’ll outlast the moment?
We consume relationships when we fail to nurture them or use people to meet our needs.
We consume food at the dinner table. But do we cultivate encouragement and love as we share a meal with family?
We consume someone else’s kindness when we benefit from it without truly receiving it or being grateful for it. Receiving a kindness and showing gratitude in word and deed blesses the person who gave it to you—and cultivates gratitude in their life.
Do we consume church or go there to cultivate our relationship with God?
Ouch. Church should be a place of spiritual nourishment. But if getting a weekly shot of hope is our main reason for doing church, we’re missing the boat. Even in the wake of COVID and other calamities, our first priority should be to give God glory and honor and reflect His love—for He is due that and much more. Cultivating our relationship with God keeps Him first, us second.
Cultivation “how to’s”
Our time on earth is short, so how we walk it out matters deeply. Especially to God.
God is in the business of multiplication. Jesus turned five loaves and two fish into a feast. He turned bickering disciples into unstoppable evangelists who changed the world.
Multiplication comes from cultivation.Cultivation is how God wants you to walk out your life. Click To Tweet
Cultivation requires you to relinquish your priorities, expectations, time, and goals in favor of what God wants you to do with all those things—and every other mercy He gives you each day.
Cultivation is never passive. It takes continuing effort. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote
Galatians 6:9. He said to “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
If that sounds like making a do-gooder checklist to plow through, it’s not. The Greek words for “doing good” mean a beautiful outward sign of an inner, honorable character. “Growing weary” is a clever contrast because it means exerting a negative outward influence from an inner weariness.
Only God can give us that inner, noble character. Then, out of love for Him, we will want to cultivate something that will eventually multiply and reap a harvest (even if we don’t see it in our lifetime).
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do.” In this unprecedented time of trouble and uncertainty, so many people are consumed with anger. Fear and toxic attitudes are crushing people’s spirits. Our job is to fight back—by cultivating peace, love, friendship, truth, kindness, and gratitude!
As everyone heads into this season of thanksgiving, I’m taking a short break for the holiday but will chat with you again before Christmas. Until then, I’m praying for God’s protection, provision, and power to surround, comfort, and strengthen you!
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