It is in the wilderness that we discover just how good our soil is, because we begin to learn some things about ourselves that we might have missed while life was bountiful and on auto-pilot. According to the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8, the prerequisite for planting good seed is having or being good soil. Therefore, as we shift our focus this week to a more in-depth look at harvesting your heritage, we will look at what it means to be good soil capable of bringing good seed to harvest.
According to a blog post at www.deeproot.com, farmers “want soil that is fertile, easy to till, and soaks up water without runoff.” To be fertile is to be generative, to be able and ready to bear fruit or produce a harvest. To be easy to till is to be manageable, trainable, teachable, and willing. To soak up water without runoff is to learn, to master, or to incorporate for the increased productivity and potency of the harvest. So, the question is, just how good is our soil, and how do we make our soil “gooder”–if there were such a word?
Now although the manner in which we are generative may vary, I believe we are all born with the capacity to be fertile, but the fact of the matter is that good soil requires not only capacity but willingness and mastery. This willingness begins with a readiness to hear as Jesus states in Luke 8:8, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” We all have ears, but we don’t always have ears to hear, or we are too busy talking to hear anything, or we believe we can talk and hear at the same time. Unfortunately, the art of listening is almost a lost craft and the capacity to hear what is being said not only by words but by body language and by what is left unsaid, is practically non-existent. Yet, being good soil begins with being willing to hear, so that you can become willing to heed, and in so doing, you can become a willing participant in your own healing–bringing forth a harvest that blesses you to be a blessing.
For practically the last 10 years or so, God has been itinerating me to a new “assignment” about every two years, which I am sure looks like pure tomfoolery to some. In fact, March 11, 2017 marked two years since I arrived in Guatemala to serve as a volunteer in mission with the Susanna Wesley School of Project Salud y Paz. I was led here by the Spirit for a two year stint, to a place where I would practically be isolated as the only Black long-term resident, during a time when there were a lot of happenings to process in both Guatemala and the United States, and for such a time as this when God would speak to me about what was next. In order to hear God clearly and not the clamoring voices of others, God had me in a season of silence that I was unable to even break for my one year anniversary. Indeed, I still have the one year anniversary blog post draft saved but unpublished.
It was not that I did not want to speak, but that I needed to be silent so that I could listen. Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” I needed to be willing and obedient to enter this period of silence in order to hear what the Spirit was teaching me in Guatemala about me and what the Spirit was saying about what’s next. For I have learned that wherever God itinerates me, it is never just about the actual work that I am doing but it is always about the work God is doing in me to make me good soil characterized by generativity, willingness, and mastery!
Tara LaShawn Seabrook is a self-proclaimed “free spirit,” a public, practical, and prophetic theologian; a spiritual and social justice activist; a creative and cultural artist; and a prolific teacher, speaker, and writer. Currently, she resides in Guatemala where she is finishing up a 2-year volunteer in mission commitment with a non-governmental organization before returning to her native Charleston, SC in the spring of 2017. Her book based on her original poem, “I Am She: The Anthology” will be released later this year.