Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas was struggling to pay for its football program, so Michael Sorrell, the president of the college, decided to end the program. This sparked some initial outrage, and the football field sat empty for a year! After talking to a friend who happened to be a real estate agent, he decided to make use of the vacant field. As the picture below shows, they turned the football field into a farm. Not only can students earn money for working on the farm, the produce is sold to local distributors including Cowboys Stadium. Now, instead of a deficit, the school has been running a six to seven figure surplus each year. The full story can be accessed here, and it's worth reading.
As I was reflecting upon this story, it occurred to me that there is a valuable spiritual lesson here...
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:1-2).If you're anything like me, there have been times in your life when you have not been productive in God's service. There are many reasons for this, ranging from business to an increasing amount of worldliness in our hearts. Like the football field at Paul Quinn College, our spiritual life becomes vacant. Instead of blessing God's kingdom with revenue, return and surplus, we symbolize a deficit.
Either we can settle for complacency, or, like Paul Quinn College, we can use the vacant soil of our hearts and the vacant areas of our lives to create opportunities for God to work in and through us.
Maybe we need to be studying God's word more to fill our minds with spiritual thoughts that will, in turn, positively impact our work-ethic, our relationships and our daily attitudes. Maybe we need to better use our time to be a blessing to our family, to our church, to our community.
I love how this football field was transformed. I love the creativity and ingenuity behind this project. I also understand that such projects require not only a creative and willing mind, but a lot of time and patience. In closing, I'd like for you to consider the pictures below and imagine your own future at each of these stages. Where are you now? What do you need to do to mirror this same transformation in your own spiritual life?