Five to a Hill

Read: Acts 8:26-40

         Recently I was with a friend who is a generation older than I am.  When I asked him how he was doing, he responded with a phrase I had never heard.  He said “Oh, about two in a hill”.  I was confused by this response so I asked him to explain what it meant.  

My friend wasn’t sure how the expression came to be, but it has to do with bean plants.  In former days, beans were often planted four or five to a hill.  If two of these seeds sprouted to produce beans, then you don’t have an abundant crop, but you at least have something.  So in other words, my friend was doing “fair” or “so-so”.  Not a full five-to-a-hill day, just a mediocre two-to-a-hill day.  I then understood the answer to my first question of,  “How are you?”  I was glad I asked for an explanation.

As Christians, there will be things we say or do that might cause others to ask for an explanation.  Readily forgiving those who hurt us, speaking of others kindly, reaching out to those in need, responding to trying times with patience, or showing joy in hard situations are all actions that do not come naturally.  When others see these actions, or especially when others receive these actions, they may inquire why.  We need to be ready to explain.  Only God living through us can produce this kind of fruit.  A relationship with his son Jesus is the source of this kind of life.  

In Acts 8, the story of Philip and the Ethiopian is another example of this.  The Ethiopian man is reading from scripture and asks Philip to explain it to him further.  Upon hearing the message about Jesus from his conversations with Philip, he began to understand.  He asked Philip to baptize him in the water right there along the side of the road.  The message of Jesus was clear, and it was one that the Ethiopian man could not resist.  

Talking about scripture with others is time well-spent.  Talking about the life available through a relationship with Jesus is a fruitful conversation to have.  And, the fruit it will produce in our lives and the lives of others will be bountiful.  It will go way beyond the five-to-a-hill crop!    

 Make it Personal:  Find ways to read, study, and learn about God’s Word in new and different ways.  There are many books, translations of the Bible, paraphrases, and commentaries that help to expand your understanding of God’s life-changing story.  Most of all be sure you are sharing the message clearly with your family and friends.  It will change their life!

Have a blessed week, Pastor Glen Rhodes
Arthur Mennonite Church, 710 E. Park St.