As you may have heard by now, this year’s theme is “Cultivate.” Each year, our faculty comes to work the week before school begins. On Monday of that week, I conduct a devotional that the whole school is invited to attend. This is not one of my traditional articles, but a “behind the scenes” look. The following is from my somewhat raw, unedited notes used to deliver this lesson and hopefully set the tone for this year. I want you to read it just as if you were a member of the school staff. Hopefully, it will give you some insight into how serious and dedicated we are about our mission to reach your children. I pray it blesses and encourages you!
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 states, “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
When we hear the word “cultivate” we think of farms, farmers, or maybe workers in a field with tractors and shovels. Maybe we even think of vineyards.
Terrior refers to a set of characteristics used to describe the geology, topography and climatic context of a vineyard or simply the conditions under which food is grown. Some of these characteristics include: soil, rock, altitude, the slope of a hill, the orientation toward the sun, and the microclimate.
Let us look at the aspects found within a vineyard and some of the cultivation facts that might apply to us and our students. Many times the preferred ground for vineyards is a hillside. It is the degree of difficulty and complexity that makes our calling worth it. Don’t be distracted by the difficulty of the task and miss the value of the investment. Hillsides are often the most valuable because they can be strategically placed to capture as much sun as possible. Children are as unique as vineyards, but, regardless of their uniqueness, they must all face the “Son.”
Vineyards are often on soil of marginal value compared to that needed by other plants. A common saying is that “the worse the soil, the better the wine.” In some cases, skills may not be readily apparent, but little is much when God is in it. Vineyards must have good drainage. We must teach our students to stop being consumers, but providers; to stop being takers and to become givers. Students must let the good things they possess flow into the lives of others. God blesses us not because of ourselves, but in spite of ourselves. He blesses us to bless others. This is true in terms of what students have to offer spiritually, intellectually and physically. The goal of the grapevine is to produce fruit, not foliage.
A balanced pruning regime must be in place by the workers in order to force the vine to put more of its energy into the fruit, rather than foliage. Our students must produce fruit. Grapes are one of the easiest plants to grow from cuttings. Our lives as well as our student’s lives should produce fruit.
Foliage is really about protection and self-preservation of the host plant with little regard for those around it. However, just like focusing on the fruit versus the foliage we must help our students understand priorities. We teach them about life, not just academic facts.
Often the “terrior” can identify a wine from others by giving it a very specific flavor and character, thus defining the individuality and the special attributes of that wine. So, too, CCS must be a place of tradition and heritage with our own Warrior culture.
Grapes must be harvested at just the right time. Harvest too early and you’ll cease the ripening process. Harvesting too late can spoil the grapes. We need to be sensitive to the teachable moments God shows us.
Do you possess the skills to cultivate? From the work of your hands,their hands will go.
It is time to CULTIVATE. This must be more than a yearly theme, but a way of life. Get ready to enter the vineyard. There is much work to be done. Do it with humility and selflessness, for no matter how hard we may work, how much we may plant, prune and water, God is the one who causes the increase, the only one who should receive the glory. It’s time to get to work!