Perma Culture

BY JEFF BETTGER

This last week I was doing some work out on the Olympic Peninsula. In one of my meetings I was introduced to an amazing film about a local farmer named Paul Gautschi. Paul loves Jesus, and seeks Him every day for help to grow his crops. He relies on God to give him wisdom and knowledge to farm the right way.

As the film continued, I was challenged over and over to think again about some of the beliefs that I have always held.  I really love it when somebody has a perspective that adds to an already complex idea or theology, and challenges you to think and pray through it.

Two of the things he said really stand out to me and I'm going to share them with you.

Paul Gautschi, credit: Jeanne Munson, ihadadreamaboutsleep.com

Paul Gautschi, credit: Jeanne Munson, ihadadreamaboutsleep.com

The first concept Paul talks about is the idea of covering. He talks about how God revealed to him that the soil is a living breathing organism.  For example, just like we have skin, so must the ground.  How amazing is this that if you cover the ground instead of tilling it, you can soften the soil?

If you look in the forest, you see it thrive. The ground is perfect from the covering of branches, leaves, and dead brush. It is like a skin that protects and covers the soil. When Adam and Eve left the Garden, God made them clothes of skin. 

I related this to Christ being my covering.  He softens my hard heart by the power of the Spirit with the love that Jesus poured out on the cross. 

Genesis 3:23 says that “therefore, the  Lord  God sent him out from the garden of Eden  to work the ground from which he was taken"  (ESV).  

Until this moment of sin, man did not work the ground. The ground was never meant to be tilled.  The earth was not worked until the curse.  This was the first sacrifice, and it showed the promise of God returning to cover us once and for all. We were covered by Jesus!

The second concept that struck me is that Christ’s restorative work on the cross restored the world to give us a simple, easy yoke of rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 says: Come to  me, all who labor and are  heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and  learn from me, for I am  gentle and lowly in heart, and  you will find rest for your souls.  For  my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

Paul makes a bold statement using this scripture when he says something along the lines of “if your work is burdensome there is something wrong, and you are not in the doing things God’s way.”

A yoke was used to harness an animal to the laborious task of tilling the earth. In Christ’s economy, this has been put away. We still wear a yoke, but it is His yoke.

This rocked my world. I have been thinking and meditating on it all week. It is so liberating to know that the rest of Christ is actually a light burden, and that it is so tangible that it plays into simple common things like providing food.

You should all watch this film. Let us know what you think.