Free Manure

There’s this crazy sign on the side of the road that makes me smile each time I drive by…simply put, it reads “Free Manure.”

I’ve yet to stop and take advantage of the deal. But, the sign’s always there no matter the season of the year. And, quite noticeable to all passers by. What intrigues me the most is the story behind the sign…who lives up that driveway, and why was the sign put there in the first place? Does someone bag it up and there it sits for anyone who turns off the road and stops for their supply? Is it from horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys, or other animals (it certainly wouldn’t be human waste…or could it be)? Is it for gardens of all kinds, or most appropriate for certain plants?

Manure is organic matter for organic growth, most specifically for agricultural purposes. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil, adding organic nutrients such as nitrogen, and contributes effectively to the chain of life in the soil food web. Bottom line…it adds humus to the soil. And humus is good for inspiring growth of all plant life.

So, I’m assuming that the person behind the sign is someone who cares about organic growth – the sign maker recently added two words “go green” so I’m pretty convinced that verifies my assumption. But, I wonder if his/her spouse embraces this home marker/welcome mat and likes the sign too? And, if there are children in the family, how do they feel about describing their house location as the one “on route 1A at the free manure sign on the right”? Can you imagine the conversations this sign has evoked?

Across the street and down the road a bit is a local church. What if someone put the “Free Manure” sign outside the church entrance one day? It might be a creative trick to play on the church, but it most certainly would not be very funny to the congregants. Or, should it be?

If the church really cares about organic growth, then all manure-of-life should be welcomed…and then set free to be given away (at the foot of the cross) and redeemed for good (eternal) purposes. Consider the following: when the manure of our life is brought before the Lord and becomes soil for our soul…it becomes humility. When we’re willing to get close to it with all its filth and stench…it’s amazing to see how it can be redeemed for creating new life and then prosper in the service of others. Yes, freed up manure – the dirty stuff of our lives that isn’t very pretty, when welcomed at the doorstep of the church, is what frequently produces humble confession, forgiveness, renewal, and organic transformation in the hearts and lives of broken-yet-restored people.

What about for you? Are you willing to acknowledge your own sinfulness and then set your manure by the side of the road of grace to be taken away by Jesus for free? If so, then you’ll be able to watch with joy how it gets buried among the good soil, seeded for healthy growth, and then harvested from deep within your soul 60, 100 times more than what was previously planted! Jesus the Redeemer died so that your humus and mine, your idiosyncracies, bad habits, wayward ways, and pridefulness could all be considered dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord (Phil. 3:8).

Free manure…such a deal.

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Steve Macchia

Steve Macchia

Founder & President

Steve is a graduate of Northwestern College (IA) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.). His prior ministry includes serving on the pastoral staff at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and as president of Vision New England. Since July 1, 2003 Steve has served as founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building, and adjunct faculty in the Doctor of Ministry department at Gordon-Conwell. He is the author of fifteen books, including the Baker bestseller Becoming a Healthy Church, and Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). He lives in the Boston area with his wife Ruth and is the proud father of two grown children, Rebekah and Nathan, daughter in-love Ashley, and papa to his beloved granddaughter, Brenna Lynn. “My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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