When I got out of college, I worked awhile for a small-town newspaper, the Nashville (AR) News. On a bi-weekly paper you learn to do a little bit of everything so sometimes I got to help proofread articles.
That was okay when it was our correspondent from south Nashville. In those days that would have been an ageing lady who was a bit funny, in a strange way. Along with her community gossip she sometimes had some observations that were out of the ordinary, so proofreading her copy could be interesting.
But once a week the county agricultural agent had a column. Borrrriiinggg! Don't get me wrong, agriculture can be interesting but this guy was on a mission. He was trying to convince local farmers and ranchers to plant a certain sort of grass called 'fescue” in their fields.
One article on fescue might have been enlightening but he kept at it, week after week. 'Fescue, fescue, fescue!” I saw his pick-up truck one day and he had a bumper sticker that said ”¦ dah, dah, dah, tee, dah! ”¦ 'Plant fescue.”
I can imagine him sitting on the living room couch one night, staring dreamily into space. 'You know what would be wonderful,” he murmurs to his wife. 'No,” she answers romantically. 'It would be soooo marvellous if everyone planted fescue.”
He might have to eat fescue himself after that.
One night, though, I was visiting a farm family near the little church I also pastored at the time. The lady of the house came to our church but her husband didn't. I tried to talk about his world, though I wasn't an expert. The conversation turned to grass so I decided to pop the question.
'Have you ever planted fescue?” I ventured as if I knew what I was talking about, halfway expecting him to look at me like I had fallen out of a tree.
He didn't even blink. 'No, I think winter wheat is better.” Whoa! It worked”"all because of our county agent. I was grateful.
Flash forward 33 years. The other day I was looking for some grass seed to reseed a burnt, bald backyard. As I surveyed the different varieties suddenly my eye spied one that surprised me”"fescue!
I thought it was only for pastures but evidently you can plant it in yards too. I looked around a bit longer, but eventually came back. 'Plant fescue!” flashed in my mind. Why not? After 33 years the county agent finally had a convert. So I planted fescue in the bald spot. If I don't like the way it looks when it grows up, I can always buy a cow.
What amazed me afterwards was that a message (a boring message at that) planted in my head over 30 years ago had suddenly sprung to life.
There's some hope there. How many times have we talked to someone about the Lord, and there seemed to be no response? Maybe the message isn't dead. It's just germinating. Did you plant a good message in your kids? It's still in there somewhere.
God must feel that way about us at times. He drops His Word in our heart but we are a bit dense. He keeps looking for little plants to sprout up in our lives. He rains on his seed and sends the warm sunshine. Then one day the class dunces start to get it.
And we see God's promises in our difficult situation. We grab hold of them and believe them but it seems like nothing is happening. Then one day”¦
'Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don't go back until they've watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They'll do the work I sent them to do, they'll complete the assignment I gave them.”
(Isa. 55:10, 11 The Message)
If I can get some rain on it, I think I'll have a good crop of fescue. There are some other areas in my life where I'm looking for 'grass” to grow too. I'm holding on.