This morning’s post comes from Jon Stevens who together with his wife Elaine runs a small organic farm on Camano Island which we had the privilege of visiting a few weeks ago.
The Open Gate Farm on Camano Island is an hour north of Seattle. A little bridge brings friends, family, and customers to our farmgate produce stand where crisp lettuce, crunchy radishes, and beautiful beets share space with bread and cinnamon rolls and colorful plants. We have lived here 10 years, and are entering our 6th year with the produce stand. All of our activities are rooted in, are centered around, and are driven by our family mission statement, “To live so that others may know the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
Instruments for Change
Seeing one’s life as an instrument of God for change in the lives of others is not unusual. What becomes fun is when others do also. At our little farm, we find many opportunities to edge into the fringes of people’s lives, many chances to drop in a word, a thought, an idea on how the Good News of the resurrection of Jesus might be woven into the lives of our guests.
Among our friends of a religious bend, there are those who see these opportunities as a gift from God and we should take each one and call that person to clear consciousness. Lead them through The Master’s Way or some other evangelical tool so they might understand with new clarity their intrinsic depravity, their hopeless state, their options for eternity, and ultimately to the grace awaiting them by surrendering to Christ. And then sell them their produce and wish them well.
Some of our friends are amazed at our boldness in speaking words of truth to these passers by. Others are annoyed we don’t press harder into the soft spiritual underbelly of those who come to our produce stand. But at the end of the day, the only one whose opinion really matters is that of the Almighty and most amazing God.
When we engage with one of his lost sheep, we actually do know how far we are to go in the sharing of our lives, of the changes we’ve gone through, of the reason for our hope and happiness. God tells us. Not by whispering “enough” or “more” in our ears. But by the gentle nudge of our hearts, by the compassion we may feel for the guest, by the listening so we might hear their story and understand how they may already have felt the hand of God but not identified it as such.
And you could do this too. You can share the Good News of the resurrection, of the call to a new life with those you meet. You don’t really need the ducks and chickens to guide the conversation like we have. You don’t really need the lovely lettuce or ravishing radishes to open the doors to the hearts of others. All you need is to make your heart soft so you can feel the nudges of God. Then you just need to listen for their stories of God’s already present grace in their lives and celebrate that with them. And if you do, then both of you will have walked farther down the road to glory.
Jon & Elaine’s story:
Jon and Elaine Stevens spent every weekend for the last 6 months of 1999 searching for land. Visiting each small town and village in Western Washington, the year ended in frustration. The house wasn’t right, the land too small, there was always something that would not work.
Then, on the last day of the Millenium, an ad caught their eye and they came for a visit. Walking the land and touring the house, they knew it was to be theirs. And so it came to be.
The move from Kirkland was staggering. The backyard there was full of grapes and trees and bushes and dreams. But it all fit and it is here for you to enjoy. Come walk about, visit the little pond in the back, admire the bees who teach us so much, laugh with the chickens and ducks, watch the wild birds and relax.
Now, with the farm growing and new produce planted, they are delighted to share with you the blessings of this lovely land. May you leave with a lighter step and hope restored from your visit here!
The Happy Farmers
The Happy Farmer: Jon…
Born in Ohio to farmers, raised in his grandfather’s truck garden in Saginaw, MI, and finally living his dream, Jon is happy to work long hours growing the best produce for your families.
The Happy Farmer’s Wife: Elaine…
The foothills of northern California were home until she met her farmer and she started a garden. Look at all the flowers and you’ll see her love of growing such beauty!