Who Wrote It? Rev. Don Byker on "Life in God's Garden"
Josh DeGroot – Welcome to todaydevotional.com’s Who Wrote It, where we get to know our Today authors better and understand the inspiration behind their writing. Joining me on the line is Don Byker, who has written the June devotional. Thanks for joining us Don.
Don Byker – It is good to be with you.
Josh DeGroot – Now, the June Today focuses on the biblical imagery of gardening, cultivation, and growth, both as God’s handiwork in creation and as a symbol of God’s cultivation work in our lives. We are using the theme: Life in God’s garden; so, what passages in the Bible spoke to you as you wrote these devotions?
Don Byker – Well, one of the passages was one that I didn’t even write on, but I think of Ephesians 2:10, where it says that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for what he wants to do with our lives and through our lives. So, I think about that one a lot; I also think about Psalm 139, where it says we are fearfully and wonderfully made; and I think that is not just as a finished product, but as a product that is constantly in formation.
Josh DeGroot – So, obviously in your writing you love gardening. In June 13 and 14 you write about gardening as an avenue of connection and outreach to your neighbors, and that is my favorite part about Today, is when the authors talk about personal stories. Tell me about your favorite memory or conversation over a fence while you were out gardening.
Don Byker – I don’t know if I remember the particulars of the conversation, but we were living in an African American community and we had no familiarity with people picking green tomatoes, and…
Josh DeGroot – Okay.
Don Byker – So, we learned about fried green tomatoes, and we continued to appreciate red tomatoes; but I think just appreciating cultural differences was one thing; but it also occurred to me that trying to form a relationship with someone around the stuff of life is a whole lot better way to…yes, if you want to think of it in the category of witness…it is a whole lot better way to witness to our faith in Christ as opposed to knocking on a door with a pamphlet. Over the course of developing that relationship we could more naturally invite the children living in the home to children’s programs; and so, it just seemed a whole lot more authentic to develop a relationship around something like gardening and being able to have more of a natural conversation with someone.
Josh DeGroot – Absolutely. When this month is over, what do you hope our readers or our listeners will learn from your writing?
Don Byker – Well, I think that I would like people to learn that we are called to what has been dubbed the spiritual discipline of noticing. What is happening in nature? What is happening in relationships? One of the things that I have come to value is reflecting from the experiences of life back to scripture, back to my life in Christ, and how that kind of reflection can deepen my appreciation for God’s Word and make my understanding of God’s Word more multifaceted as opposed to just thinking about it conceptually.
Josh DeGroot – Absolutely. Well Don, thanks for you writing and thanks for your time here today.
Don Byker – Well, it’s been an honor, and I have enjoyed doing the writing. I found it to be fun, and I think that work that God calls us to at its best is enjoyable. So, thanks for the opportunity to write and share my thoughts with you and your listeners.
Josh DeGroot – He is Don Byker, writer of the June Today devotional. You can catch his writing and more at todaydevotional.com. I am Josh DeGroot. Together let’s refresh, refocus, renew at todaydevotional.com.