One principle of sustainability is doing things with benefits that go beyond your lifetime.
In one of his most famous poems, "Manifesto", Wendell Berry suggests doing things that we will not live to see the benefit of:
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Many Plant With Purpose partners share this approach to sustainability. Ah Jee in Thailand reminds us that "sustainability is done as a community and is carried on by next generations."
He isn’t alone.
All around the world are many caretakers of creation who realize their mission extends beyond their lifespan.
Pastor Kategere practices this approach.
He has lived his whole life in a village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that has seen a number of challenges, from conflict to a depleting forest.
Pastor Kategere was amazed when he found a new way of thinking about his faith that incorporates the way he works on the land and takes care of the environment.
“When we were invited to a training on the ‘Theology of Work,’ as a pastor and teacher of the Word of God, I was surprised to learn a new discipline that we have ignored for decades,” he recounts. “After the training, I realized that work is compulsory for Christians. God, by His unfathomable love, placed man in a naturally pleasant environment.
Plant With Purpose offers this training as part of its core program. It helps those who earn a living by earning the land realize the God-given purpose within their work. By understanding that farm work is a ministry in and of itself, people grow in both stewardship and faith.
Pastor Kategere was eager to apply his newfound insight to his work as both a farmer and a pastor. He became both a proponent and a practitioner of creation care as worship.
He wants to use the rest of his life to leave behind something better.
Pastor Kategere is not particularly young anymore. He is one of the older men in his village. Pastor Kategere shares his concern about what he will pass on to the generations below him.
He took some time to reflect on the Theology of Work training and the book of Genesis. He realized that planting trees and cultivating a healthy ecosystem would be a meaningful thing to pass on.
“Like Adam, he asked us to cultivate and keep the planet,” he says. “Despite my advanced age, I decided to accept the tree seedlings from Plant With Purpose. I just planted more than 820 trees and I know these trees cannot benefit me now, but they will be useful for later generations.”
“Pastor Kategere finished by saying, “I thank, from the deep of my heart, Plant With Purpose for such concrete work done in a short time. This inspires hope in our churches. I recommend the ‘Theology of Work’ training be multiplied. Especially for the unemployed youth of our country.”
Your support helps us work with participants like Pastor Kategere, turning them into leaders in their community and great examples for younger generations. To learn how you could support a Plant With Purpose member like him each month for $22, learn more about becoming a Purpose Partner.