March 30, 2007
The San Joaquin Valley is a volcano of green; an explosion of some of the most productive farmland in the world. For the past few days I’ve ridden across and flown over this incredible piece of California geography. Grape, almond, carrot, citrus and cotton fields by the miles crisscross the flatlands of the central valley.
I loved seeing it. Whether it’s a recently cultivated field or an expansive stand of mature almond trees… there is something about seeing fertile soil at work. The orchestration of seed, nutrients, sunshine, water, and careful oversight creates a practical beauty in row after row.
It’s here, in the center of the valley is Modesto… right in the middle of this breadbasket that I stood and looked at a vacant lot in the heart of the city. I looked at renderings for a youth center that will cover nearly a city block. By 2009, this center will provide mentoring, exercise, tutoring, fun, connection and hope for a diverse population. The transformation of this field on Vine Street will eclipse any farm field I saw in the valley. It will provide a place where the souls of young lives and adults can be plowed and planted with the message of love, compassion, mercy, and purpose that God provides in His son Jesus.
It will be on this corner, in this town, that the most productive crop of all will be cultivated. It’s right there that the seeds of life will find a fertile home, and a volcano… an explosion, will rip through a neighborhood… one deeply rooted life at a time.
A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. ~ Matthew 13:3-8
The orchestration of seed, nutrients, sunshine, water, and careful oversight creates a beauty that transforms communities. Right here in the heart of the nation’s “breadbasket.”
Dream big. Cultivate boldly. Plant liberally. Water generously. Nurture sacrificially. The soil is fertile. The need profound. The community is ready.
… on good soil… a hundredfold.