When I compost, it is a joy to see the ways that God’s creation obeys Him, managing and cycling ‘waste’ and decay into new life. These disdained scraps become the essential tool of our Christian work: the means to feed the hungry. What a beautiful symbol compost is- to take the junk, the unwanted, the ‘trash’ and have it become a service in glory! Imagine if we could ‘compost’ our negative experiences this easily, if we allowed God to transform our sins and tragedies into fertile beauty! My compost bin is nature’s icon to remind me of Christ’s resurrection, that through death we are born again.
In Heart and Soil Part 1 we discussed how the soil is a reflection of our hearts, that restoration is a practice that renews us, and then with renewed hearts we can also give charitably. This is more than a beautiful symbol, it is a practical help to those in need. Here are three reasons making good soil literally helps our neighbors:
1. Good soil is essential for producing healthy food. Fertile soil feeds the plants, filling them with nutrition for us to eat. When the plants are healthy, they are also more resistant to pests and able to produce larger crops. Healthy soil also can hold 20x its weight in water, allowing food to grow with less irrigation water.
“[Peter] said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” (John 21.17)
2. Good soil supports clean water. Soil filled with carbon-rich leaves, organic matter, and humus acts just like a carbon Brita filter in your home. Water is cleared of toxins as it percolates down, and is able to replenish wells and watersheds so that future generations will also have enough fresh water.
“I was thirsty and you gave Me drink… as you did this to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:35/40)
3. Good soil helps combat climate change. On one hand, food scraps that go to the landfill do not decompose properly and instead release green-house gases like methane. On the other hand, healthy soil created by compost is able to absorb and lock-in atmospheric carbon dioxide– one of the key players in the greenhouse effect that is driving global climate change. The extreme droughts, floods, hurricanes, etc. that come with global climate change disproportionately impact impoverished people the most, and building soil is one way we can help prevent this systemic disruption and protect these people.
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy” (Psalm 82:3)
This 3 minute video by Soil Story gives a beautiful illustration of the practical effects of restoring the soil.
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