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Southland Christian Ministry Training

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What is Your Vision?

In a past life I was the pastor of a church in Wellington, in the central west of NSW just down the road from Dubbo. As part of my introduction to rural ministry I spent a lot of my spare time as a farm labourer, learning about sheep, cattle and cropping. The work was hard but it was great just getting away from the phone, learning new skills and beginning to understand what makes the Aussie farmer such a unique breed. That seems like a lifetime ago but the lessons are still valid.

I have fond memories of farmers struggling to work out what to plant, balancing the need for oats as stock feed, against cash crops like wheat and canola. Then you have to throw into the mix how much each crop will cost to put in and the need to rotate crops through various paddocks and whether you have enough sub soil moisture to put in a particular crop! Then they need to factor in when to expect follow-up rain and whether the final product will make it worth it!

Why am I telling you this story? Because every job has its down side! Every decision has repercussions and you never control all the factors which determine the outcome. Farmers realise that and take the risk to put in a crop – what about you? Have we become so risk averse that we avoid the things that could provide us with a sense of purpose and fulfilment, and refuse to do those things that would nourish and feed our souls?

Many years ago I heard an old Chinese proverb that says this:

If your vision is for a year – plant wheat.

If your vision is for a decade – plant trees.

If your vision is for a lifetime – plant people.

In my job I am taking the risk of investing in people, and believing that God will bring a harvest in due time. What about you? What are you sowing?

The Bible puts it like this:

“Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants he will harvest.”

(Galatians 6:7).

Chaplain Ian Whitley

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