Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Work Space: 3

Thinking further on stewardship and work, I liked this quote from Wendell Berry, on the difference between agribusiness and traditional agriculture...

To set this squandering, urban-industrial "agribusiness" against the elegantly conservative traditional agriculture is again to illustrate the difference between imposition and adaptation— between bigotry and force on the one hand and grace and skill on the other.

The Papago adapted farming to their country, and by that adaptation gave it— and themselves— the power to endure as long as the bonds between them and their land remained unbroken. The modern industrial farmers, on the other hand, have forced the country to conform to their way of farming.

So long as their technology and their surplus capital can provide shortcuts, such as pumping groundwater and transporting fuels, this way will "work." But it cannot work any other way, and the signs of its failure are readily apparent to anyone who will take the trouble to look.

I wonder, as I work, if I steward what is in my hand with grace and skill? Do I adapt myself to the needs of others, rather than forcing my way (all in the name of supposedly bringing a blessing)?

It is definitely a challenge to bring forth blooms with humility and sensitivity. And I suppose that when I do not, the signs of my failure might be readily apparent if I take the trouble to look.

Quote from The Gift of Good Land, p.64. Peony photo by Gail Nadeau. Used with permission.

Seedlings Invitation: If you write a post related to this post and Link It Back Here, let me know and I'll link to yours.

As you recall over the past two days, is going on blog tour this week, to bring you special ideas regarding the work space. If the issue of humility interests you, try these tour options on for size...

Membership... become a member of Becoming a member allows you to track issues of interest, like humility, right on the HC site.

Membership could also lead to GETTING PAID FOR ONE OF YOUR HUMBLE BLOG POSTS! Check it out.

A High Thought... Leadership by Light

Other tour rest stops...

Green Inventions Central
Gordon Atkinson
Gina Conroy
Craver VII
Milton Brasher-Cunningham
Mary DeMuth
Karl Edwards
Every Square Inch
Amy Goodyear
Marcus Goodyear
Al Hsu
Chalres Foster Johnson
Mike McLoughlin
Eve Nielsen
Naked Pastor
Ramblin Dan
Charity Singleton
Camy Tang

Enjoy day three of the journey!

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Blogger Every Square Inch said...

Just because we can attach to our desire,the power to do something doesn't mean that we ought to do it.

Sometimes waiting is the right thing to do...sometimes,it's being flexible and adapting to the situation at hand or the people involved.

It takes wisdom and patience.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

The thing about humility is great, too. Maybe that's what wisdom and patience actually are. Or are in part, at least.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Ted Gossard said...

L.L., This reminds me that WHAT we do consists not only of the work itself, but of the way we do it. If it is of Christ than it will reflect Christ.

I see Christ as gently leading others. As we learn to follow Christ as he followed the Father's lead in his life, than others will follow in that path. I'm not sure that all of what Christians follow in leaders is that path; surely not. And I feel like a novice in this myself, though just having turned 51 (officially yesterday). ha.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Ted Gossard said...

The farmer thing...I do think it good. We need to take the time to get to know the people we would be a blessing to. I think this is a part of Christ-work for us as his followers.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

What a great analogy.
God's way is creative, working with what He's got (unfortunately, sinful selfish people), but never forced.
So, why should agribusiness work that way?
Or even better, why should we work that way.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Charity Singleton said...

Working with grace and skill according to the needs of others can often be a much slower process than just making them conform to my agenda. In our culture, this very slowness is bad in its ineffeciency and lack of productivity. I am so thankful that these are not the sole standards that the Lord uses in evaluating our work -- or his work in us.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Al Hsu said...

Wendell Berry is great. And your comment of stewarding what is "in my hand" reminded me of both Ecc. 9:10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might," and Ps. 90: 17, "May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands."

9:02 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Every Square... well said... I think I often have the power to do certain things, to have my way, to push it forward, but I should not do so. The wisdom of waiting, or releasing things altogether, that is freedom, is it not?

Jenn... humility as flowing from wisdom and patience, yes, I like that. Makes me feel not so wise, not so patient though.

Ted... work and person as inseparable. I think that is hard when we don't like our work (see Charity's Day Three post. I think she explicates this beautifully.) Yes, and the getting-to-know people is something I often skim by, thinking I've got just the right solution for their needs.

Andrea... maybe that is why we work in a different sense. Maybe our coercion is just more evidence of our estrangement from the one who works right on time, in just the right ways.

Charity... ah, the leisure of taking one's time. Counter-cultural, as you say. What do you think we can do to cultivate an alternate attitude?

Al... I particularly like that first verse. It is contentment oriented and industrious in the best sense of the word.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Amy Goodyear said...

l.l. - thanks for commenting on my blog. And thanks for this post. I think the idea of adapting to the land is such a powerful metaphor for parenthood. How many parents had one vision of raising children that changed dramatically when those children came along? Adaptation, prayerful and wise adaptation, is the only way to grow crops.. and children.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I believe our true nature is revealed by how we work. When God cast Adam from the Garden, He cursed Adam with eating by the sweat of his brow. In other words, work. I believe men, in particular, are more inclined to view their work as a curse. (Because it is?) As such, we make efforts to be more "efficient," "forcing" situations, using technology to make our work more uniform to the point where "untouched by human hands" is a positive label. So much here, but I think if I can acknowledge work as a curse and adapt to make the best of the situation, I do better. Peace, Kim

3:49 PM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

Kim, I don't think work is a curse.

Adam and Eve tended the garden before they ever fell. Besides that. Surely God wasn't cursed by the work he did to create the world (Gen. 2:2).

True, the Fall and our sin has caused our work to be fallen since then.

But when we have a relationship with Jesus that price of our sin is paid. The rift is healed. We are no longer dead. And our work is no longer cursed. Jesus redeems our lives and our work.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I just want to stick my face in that peony and breathe in it's velvety petals for a few hours.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

Another sooper dooper photo, I would like to have a go at painting this one. Lovely flower!

Have a nice weekend LL

8:16 AM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

Hm - walking the line between humility and pride has always been a challenge for me...

Blessings to you and yours.

12:56 AM  

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