“This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Luke 11:29
Hugh Bennett was a soil scientist working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Roosevelt Administration. In 1928, he published ground breaking research in a small pamphlet called, Soil Erosion: A National Menace. He made a convincing argument about a topic never previously considered, the need for soil conservation. While many scientist found the work compelling, they felt it lacked physical proof.
His work went largely unnoticed until the great Dust Bowl of 1934. Confused by this phenomena, people started considering Bennett’s work on soil erosion valid. President Roosevelt asked him to present his ideas to legislatures in Washington, D.C. However, they thought him an alarmist, until one summer day in 1934.
While trying to convince legislatures the extent of impact by the Dust Bowl, Bennett realized his words were falling on deaf ears. He needed a sign. Just then, a secretary entered the room and handed him a note. It said a massive dust cloud was approaching Washington and would arrive within the next 15-30 minutes. So, he opened all the windows in the room and drew out his speech.
Sure enough, just as had been reported, a massive dust cloud hit Washington. Blinding dust blew in through the windows and filled the room with soil. It was the sign the legislatures needed. Soon after, they created the “Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936.” This act allowed the government to pay farmers to reduce production so as to conserve soil and prevent erosion.
In Luke, Jesus calls those who need signs an evil generation. Yet, most of us find comfort in signs and God never seems all that reluctant to provide them. It would seem to me, signs are not the issue, but how people interpret them. What do the signs of faith mean to you?
Lent is a journey through the witnesses of faith reminding us what this sign of God, the Son of Man, means for our daily living. It will lead us to a cross, an empty tomb, a locked room and a Pentecost miracle. These are signs provided by God to conserve the soul and prevent the erosion of hope.
Click to read: Luke 11: 29-32
- When has a sign, religious or not, captured your attention?
- What meaning did it provide you and how did it change your life?
- Where do signs of the faith restore your soul and provide you hope?
- How do you share these with others?
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