It’s been awhile since I have written. My plate has been full of family, work, and new adventures and hasn’t permitted me to write as much as I would like. This is what brings me to write today. Complacency, apathy and all out busyness in our lives wreck community. This too happens in covenantal farming.
Let me define the terms for you. Complacency is the concern for or the act of seeking that which is pleasurable to us. Apathy is a term used to show a contempt for earthly concerns beyond that which pleases us. Busyness, is a self-conscious, intentional need to be busy while yet having no order or purpose to the action.
Complacency is deadly when it comes to farming. If we all do what is pleasurable to us, then there is a lot left to do or a lot left undone. In my last writing, I wrote about people who are not willing to do the work to dig in and learn about farming for themselves, but rather like the idea and in doing so they don’t fulfill the dominion mandate. I called them hobbyist farmers and I correlated it to hobbyist Christianity. Both are dangerous. Complacency fits well in this category of hobbyist farming. The problem with complacency is that is that I have never met anyone who enjoyed scooping poop but it needs to be done. Keeping the grass and vines off the fence is extremely hard work, but it needs to be done. Weeding the garden is difficult and the bigger it is, the harder it is to maintain, but it needs to be done. When someone becomes complacent on the farm, they find themselves admiring the animals and their beauty, their “personalities” and their quirkiness. They only envision the idea of these animals and how they please them, but if you do this, some things go unnoticed and this can be detrimental to the farm. You will never have the farm of your dreams as long you stand there day-dreaming about it.
Apathy, like complacency, is also destructive to the farm because it is the act of ignoring all the signs that are clearly before us and around us for the sake of what pleases us. Apathy on the farm is worse than complacency because it is the byproduct of complacency. Complacency gives birth to apathy. Apathy ignores the clear signs right in front of you. If you don’t take care of fence lines, they will become overgrown, break down and animals will escape. Since I use electric fence, if I don’t maintain the fences they ground out and the animals get out because it can no longer deter them. If you don’t keep a close eye on your animals, their health can quickly decline and put you into panic mode or lose the animal, which is a definite loss on your investment. If you don’t have quality control on your feed, your animals might not receive the nourishment they need. If you don’t weed your garden, the weeds will not only take over, but they will suck the nutrients out of your soil, depriving your plants of what they need to produce a harvest. Apathy is destructive to the farm.
Like apathy, busyness is a byproduct. It’s more of a clear sign that complacency and apathy have existed on your farm form some time. Yet busyness is one of the most destructive things we can do to a farm. Remember, busyness is a self-conscious, intentional need to be busy while yet not having any order or purpose to the action. If you find yourself busy for the sake of being busy, you are in trouble. If you have no order, no purpose and no vision for the farm, it will be evident. Your farm will be in total disarray. If you are too busy to know the animals you have, you will be too busy notice when one goes lame or goes missing. Busyness does not equate productivity. There must be order for there to productivity. There will be no order without a distinct purpose. Busyness waits time and resources and gets us nowhere on the farm. Everything suffers when there is complacency, apathy and busyness. We will find the there is no true spirit of community or common unity of purpose in our farm and often our farms are a reflection of our lives. This is really what this writing is about. It’s all about community and what hinders us from having an abundant and full life in community with our family, our churches and more.
Many people will have good intentions, but it doesn’t take long and complacency sets in. The selfish desire for personal pleasure at all costs. It doesn’t take much for us to replace hard work and effort on relationships and replacing it with admiring an ideal or begin living a dream of what this community is like while in reality all that we do is to please ourselves. We evaluate things as to whether it brings us pleasure when we decide to show up. We love the convenience of showing up when we want. We love the personality of the pastor or the quirkiness of the people or energized by the worship band when we go to church, yet in reality it is all about us and our pleasure.
This leads us to the byproduct of complacency in our families and our churches, which is apathy. We are so focused on self-pleasure that we don’t even see the signs of people and things falling apart. We don’t notice the hurting, the sick, the lame and the worn out both physically and spiritually among us. We don’t recognize the people or the things that are in dire need of attention because we are caught up in what pleases us. We don’t see the destruction in others that is occurring, but what we don’t realize is the destruction that is occurring in us.
When we do wake up enough to see the need, we find ourselves rushing around trying to put band-aid cures on everything, but in some circumstances we are too late. Even though we wake up, we do not realize the depth of the damage already done and we find ourselves running about in busyness. Busyness is but a distraction from taking responsibility. Busyness doesn’t fix the core issues, but it’s more like covering up the piles of manure that didn’t get scooped or the carcasses of those overlooked with tarps. The root of the problem still exists, but we refuse to address it. We act as if we cover it up or move the piles from one place to another people will think we are serious about our community. How wrong we are and how foolish we look.
Community on the farm or in our homes or in our churches isn’t about what pleases us or what we like to look at or even the dreams we have for our future. Community doesn’t allow for the hurting, the lame, the sick and the malnourished physically and spiritually to go unnoticed. Community doesn’t allow band-aid approaches and not taking responsibility for our lack of action and lack of intentional involvement. It is never another person’s fault when community reaches failure, but a collective of “I’s” which form the “we” of community. Each of us needs to take a close look at our communities in which we are involved in. Are they a reflection of Biblical community or they in total disarray? Let’s look at the core of our problems and in repentance repair them and restore them with God’s help and with God’s purpose and vision in mind.
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2, English Standard Version)