If you were to ask me what goji berries taste like, I would have to truthfully answer, "I have no idea." Nor do I know what pawpaws taste like. What I do know is that we Wagners now have two goji bushes, three blackberry bushes, two raspberry bushes, four pawpaw trees, two fig trees, two pecan trees and two plum trees planted in various spots on our property.
Social distancing/mostly staying at home together has been interesting thus far. And by interesting I mean busy.
We also now have three peach trees planted at the church.
Mind you, none of this is in any way an antidote for the coronavirus, and I know that. But I also know that time is a very precious thing, and some of the very best things take a lot of time to even develop. Thus it is that we have chosen to use any spare time we have these days planning and preparing for future days.
Our garden is now planted and ready with tomatoes, okra, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupes, butternut squash and four kinds of peppers. It is also now fenced in so that our grumpy old mutt, Riley, will not obliterate it in his frenetic search for frogs and lizards this year.
Later on this year, it is my intention to be feeding my family, and others, with the fresh produce grown in our garden. Years down the road, it is my intention to be enjoying and sharing all of the fresh fruits and nuts from the trees and bushes we have planted these last few days. None of this happens at once; but all of it has to start somewhere and sometime if it is to ever come to fruition.
In Ephesians 5:15-16, Paul said, "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Circumspectly means accurately, exactly and diligently. It paints the picture of a person who lays plans out well in advance and then puts the needed effort into those plans to bring them to pass. Living life like that amounts to "redeeming the time" or, as we might phrase it, "buying it up for good use."
Many people seem to be foundering a bit these days, unsure of what to do next. The uncertainty of when everything will be back to normal has left them in a sort of limbo. No two set of circumstances are alike, but may I nonetheless toss out some helpful ideas to anyone who feels this way?
This would be an excellent time to read your Bible through, in order, from cover to cover, or at least the entire New Testament. If people read other books the way they read their Bible, randomly opening a page here or there from time to time and reading whatever their eyes landed on, Dorothy's Ruby slippers would be in a basket on a bicycle in Kansas guarded by flying monkeys singing somewhere over the rainbow.
It would also be an excellent time to write out a very long prayer list and make a habit of praying through it every single day. And if you do, may I be so bold as to ask you to put me and my family and ministry on the list?
Another great idea is to use the time to read a few other very good books as well. In no particular order, I would suggest "Bonhoeffer" by Eric Metaxas, "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer, "This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" by Frank Peretti, "Animal Farm" by George Orwell and "Last of the Breed" by Louis L'Amour.
Spend some time as well calling, texting and messaging people that you know are discouraged or scared. Just letting them know that you love them and are praying for them can make all the difference in the world.
Oh, and take a look at some of the things you have been meaning to do, and go ahead and do them. I have already built the lovely driveway arch I have been planning for years now, and I am determined to finish writing volume 10 of my Night Heroes series before the quarantine days are done.
Lastly, plant something that will outlast you and bless others years after you are gone. Even if it includes pawpaws and goji berries.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.