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Farm manager Sarah DePhillips speaks with Will about sharing the good news of Jesus through sustainable farming. Through Sarah's work supporting young people in Virginia and farmers in Zimbabwe, she embodies her message that God has given us everything we need to flourish, and our task is to steward our resources well, whether they are material, such as soil and water, or immaterial, such as our relationships with people, our gifts and our good passions.
Below's highlights from today's Forecast has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.
Who we are and what we do
I tend to think of calling more as who God has called us to be. I think about two senses: one in a general sense: God has given us his word and the life of Jesus to look at, and he's called us to conform to the image of Jesus. Every Christian, every human, I think, God desires to know him and to become more like him in our character. And in a specific sense, he's given each and everyone of us different talents, different passions. So our calling is to become more like God and to know him more, and then specifically to live out the gifts and passions he's given us. That really gets to the 'who'.
Whereas vocation I think more of as what we do: what we do with our day, what we do with our time. That might be a job we go to work and get paid for, that might be caring for children or an elderly parent -- there's lots of things that come into vocation. Caring for a garden. I think of the calling as 'who' and vocation as 'what'.
You have what you need
One of the neat things about going back to the basics of agriculture in a society that is totally dependent is that they do things a lot more in the way they were done in the Bible. They have more of this agrarian society outlook in that life is built around the rhythms of rain, drought, planting and harvest.
We have given them a lot of bad agricultural practices in the West, and some of the Foundations for Farming teaching that we do is trying to undo some of that, but I think the coolest thing is the message that they have what they need to practise agriculture in a way that is also worshipful...You already have what you need, you just have to steward it well, is the message.
And that message brings so much joy because we've encountered this concept that we don't have what we need -- the West has messed things up, and we need the West to give us technology or whatever it is -- and the message is, no, you have what you need, and God has given you what you need, and you honour God by stewarding your resources well and by telling your neighbours about the gospel and why you're farming this way.
Sarah DePhillips is a farm manager with Hope for Suffolk, a ministry that serves and empowers young people in Suffolk, Virginia, through agricultural work (learn more here). She also works with Foundations for Farming, a stewardship programme for farmers in Zimbabwe (learn more here).
Will Shine is a co-host of Forecast.
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