The Undepletable

Being a Californian, I have traveled a variety of times through the Gold Country. When John Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill, it set off the 1849 gold rush. There ensued a huge influx of mostly poor people seeking a fortune in the gold fields. At first, people panned for gold, but as the good panning places became depleted, people turned to other methods of extracting the gold. Sluices became popular, where one diverted part of the river, so water poured down the sluice. River mud was added. This processed much greater quantities of mud than panning did and resulted in larger amounts of gold, but at a greater ecological cost. Eventually, those places were used up also. Then people discovered that there were places that had been river beds, but were now dry hills. Some contrived powerful water hoses and washed away whole hillsides, and continued this until the gold was depleted to the point it wasn’t economically viable. I have walked through these washed out soil-less wastelands. So much human endeavor is consumed by consuming a resource to the point of depletion. The fishing industry has seen collapse after collapse of different fish stocks. We just about killed off Whales, beavers, buffalo, sea otters, etc. We are amazingly able to drain the most inexhaustible resources.

Sometimes, though, we find a sustainable system. In some places, forestry has converted to a renewable system. It still requires killing the individual tree, so things like dead snags become rare for creatures that rely on them for nesting. Other resources are even more renewable. I am excited to visit the cork orchards and factory here in Portugal. This is a hyper-renewable resource. 26 years after planting a tree, one strips the bark off the tree for the first time. Then once every 9 years, the bark is removed again, for the life of the tree. The cork trees are only cut down at the very end of their lifespan. This type of resource can never be depleted by a greedy soul, unlike a greedy timber magnate.

I have seen a funny attitude among Christians. They say, “I didn’t want to bother God with that.” With humans, we have a limited amount of time to listen. After accounting for time to sleep, eat, and work. We might have 2-4 hours a day available for other activities like listening. We know that another persons patience can be depleted. I had a friend who started talking the moment she saw you. I watched and saw that others did the same as I, we all walked away while she continued her verbal eruption. Somehow, most of us have learned that others have limited time and we don’t want to bother them with too much. Unfortunately, we make God in our image. We don’t want to bother God, as if He is limited in the amount he can listen. Can we deplete that resource?

“But, but, but,” I can hear you ask, “What about …” No matter how you finish that question, I have the same answer. There is a limit to God, and that limit is love. To come and rid the world of evil or some derevation of evil (sickness, starvation, etc.) would mean the end of everyone not under His care. He loves so much that He is waiting. In the meantime, He has a plan. It is called you and me. He said to the disciples, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Now, I can guarantee that the disciples had way more faith than I. God’s power is not depleted, but since He has chosen to limit himself to work through men, the limit is you and I. I strive to trust Him more and to love other more. Will You?

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