Harder Soil

I posted recently about hard soil

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and my conclusion was that in ‘hard soil’ you just keep chipping away…

Well, today I went to a reticulation job where the soil was like rock. After 10 minutes of ‘chipping’ I concluded that in the absence of something more substantial it was going to be a very long day. It was off to Bunnings to buy a pick/mattock where I could hack at the soil and break it up in a much more aggressive way. It worked and shortened my day significantly. Large slabs of crusty surface ‘soil’ broke away and I was able to form a trench.

I’m not sure what the implications are for ‘hard soil’ mission – but I wonder if some times in this suburban context we need to get the pick out and swing like a crazy man?

But what would that mean?…

Just some random thoughts at the end of the day!

12 thoughts on “Harder Soil

  1. There are lots of answers to that analogy from the pop wisdom repertoire:

    If you’re working hard and making little progress, don’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.

    Then there’s the proverb about someone continually bashing a wall for no result after 30-40 strikes, and then a crack appears, and a few strikes later the wall has fallen down.

    If you’re working hard and making little progress, you might need to try

    – a different angle/method

    – a different tool

    – get someone else to have a go

    And if you stop work altogether, you certainly won’t get anywhere.

    So no inspired answers from me today. Keep working because no work = no fruit, keep praying because it’s God who makes the plants grow, keep helping your fellow workers to do their part and keep looking out for other things you can try.

  2. Lance (and I’m speaking entirely out of my atheist hat) If I were taking on that job I’d assume that I’m taking on the lot. That said, if you have to both plough the soil and plant the seed you better make sure you have the tools for each.

  3. In order to get hard soil to a useable state, you needed to use a forceable tool……

    mmmmm there are a few parallels with transitioning a traditional church 🙂

  4. Well, I like the idea that your first tool was trying to effect a much larger area, while your second tool concentrated much more of the energy in a very specific and narrow place, allowing there to be more break through. This has the effect of spreading rather quickly.

    As someone who tends to scatter gun my approach I have noticed that when I see certain areas begin to open up, I need to put more of my emphasis there. We can often be so burdened for a neighborhood, or city, that we can miss the neighbors.

    I also like the idea that if you had more time, and less water restrictions, you could soften the ground considerably without needing to use blunt trauma.

    And of course if you take the analogy to a different realm it really gets me fired up. Because I think often times it takes the hard, aggressive, focussed energy of the prophet, to shake up things that the pastoral gift will never touch. In my ministry I often am more of a pick axe then a spade, but that has its draw backs as well, as I am sure you can often see.


  5. Well, I’ll just continue with the farming analogy. You can’t prepare the ground from inside the hacienda, so a good pair of shoes is essential to get you into the field.

    When you plough the soil you are churning the dry hard crust from above, with the weeds and detritus of the fallow season and lifting the dark loam from beneath. This aerates the soil and stirs the micro-organisms into life. Your plough will need to cut deep enough to do this – it has to be sympathetic to the soil it is working, strong enough to cope with the inevitable rocks, supple enough to skip over the immovable obstacles and it has to have the right angle.

    Something has to be hauling the plough, so you need a good team, steady, patient and willing to work all day dragging that big old heavy plough up and down and back up again.

    You need a good sense of direction. Not only to you have to maintain integrity by keeping the furrows in line with each other, but you might also have to respond to the landscape – contour plough, to make sure all your good work doesn’t get washed away.

    You have to be able to read the season – no use ploughing in the wrong season or by the time you can plant the seeds it’ll be all overgrown again.

    Finally, when you are planting – don’t mix the crops in any one field. Plant the right crop for that field and only in that field.

  6. If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning. I’d hammer in the evening. All over this land 😛

    That was a very inspiring answer, Grendel. After all that work preparing the soil, what kind of fruit would you want to produce?

  7. I would use something that requires compressed air to operate – like a JACK HAMMER.

    I quote from Wikapedia:

    A pneumatic drill or jackhammer is a portable percussive drill powered by compressed air. It is used to drill rock, break up pavement, among other applications. It works similar to a hammer and chisel, by jabbing with its bit, not rotating it. (A drill driven by compressed air, which rotates its cutting bit is called an air-drill or familiarly, a windy-drill or rotary hammer.) The word jackhammer is used in North American English and in Australia, and pneumatic drill is used colloquially elsewhere in the English speaking world, although (road) breaker is used in the trade.

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