Well, there was snow here last week, horse manure this week. The manure pile is the one without the shovel, in case you were wondering 😉 I feel a sermon coming….
Where I live in south Mississippi, a snow day comes about once every five years. We had one last week, a couple of inches, not much. However, even a little snow can pretty much shut down the town. We try not to drive when it is snowing, but that doesn’t keep us from going outside and feeling the snowflakes upon our cheeks, or busting someone with a snowball, or just standing by a window in watchful awe.
The gently falling flakes charm the soul, reminding us that there is still some freshness in this old, tired world of ours. The snow indiscriminately blankets all beneath the same wonderland covering, hiding for a moment the broken, the soiled, and the abandoned beneath the same coverlet of innocence. The snow so fresh upon the ground soon fades away like the days of our youth with only the memory faint upon our cheek.
WHEN THE SNOW MELTS
The snow is in stark contrast to the manure, as is youth to old age if you will pardon the rank analogy ;). Whereas the snow falls gracefully and effortlessly from the sky, I have to go to the barn and get the manure, pile it on my truck and unload it on to my garden. A friend donated the manure to me. It is work, but it is work that has a purpose. It is a way for me to make a difference in how things will grow in the next generation of my garden. It doesn’t guarantee a good crop of tomatoes, okra, peas, corn, green beans, watermelons, and cantaloupes, but it is something positive that I can contribute to the cause. I am genuinely grateful to have the manure to put on my garden. Without the manure, my clay soil would be hard pressed to grow anything but grass and weeds.
If there is a sermon in this, it is this; when the snowflakes have all melted and youth no longer an option, old age yields an opportunity to enrich the soil in which the next generation will arise. What we have learned from the disappointments and heartaches of life, as well as the joys, may be of inestimable value to those who will come after us. So, gather up the thoughts and emotions, the experiences of life from yesteryear and put them to good use, while there is still a measure of health and strength.
Solomon did precisely that when he preserved for later generations his collection of the Proverbs in the Bible and the account of his life ramblings in Ecclesiastes. Solomon tried a lot of things, not many of them ended well for him, kind of like us in our lives. Nevertheless, God used the bitter and the sweet in Solomon’s life for the greater good in growing the next generation to walk in the ways of God.
[Solomon] the Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ec 12:10–11.
NOT ALL MANURE SMELLS ALIKE
Fresh horse manure right out of the ‘tube’ stinks pretty bad. However, once the manure has aged a bit, it stinks less. After a while, when nicely composted, it will even acquire a nice earthy smell that hints of the new life and vitality of the soil. For us old guys, regrets linger, like manure scattered on the barn floor, waiting to be scooped from the barn to the garden and worked into the soil. With the passing of years and God’s grace, the good Lord can use even those things from the past that haunt our souls and beleaguer our minds and hearts, for good in the lives of others and His Glory.