Gardening and Character Formation

1 Corinthians 10:31 whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 

No line of manual training is of more value than agriculture. A greater effort should be made to create and to encourage an interest in agricultural pursuits. Let the teacher call attention to what the Bible says about agriculture: that it was God’s plan for man to till the earth…ED 219.1


The impression that work is degrading has laid thousands in the grave. Those who perform only manual labor frequently work to excess, while brain workers suffer for want of the healthful vigor physical labor gives. If the intellectual would share the burden of the laboring class to such a degree that the muscles would be strengthened, the laborers might devote a portion of their time to mental and moral culture. Those of sedentary and literary habits should take physical exercise. Health should be a sufficient inducement to lead them to unite physical with their mental labor. {6T 192.2}

1 Develops ability to plan and execute

Practical work encourages close observation and independent thought. Rightly performed, it tends to develop that practical wisdom which we call common sense. It develops ability to (1)plan and execute, (2)strengthens courage and perseverance, and (3)calls for the exercise of tact and skill.  {Ed 220.2}

(i)                Plan and execute

Wise plans are to be laid for the cultivation of the land. The students are to be given a practical education in agriculture. {PCO 20.5)



In order to achieve this, the teacher should create interest to the students. How?

  • In planning for the culture of plants, let the teacher seek to awaken an interest in beautifying the school grounds and the schoolroom. A double benefit will result. That which the pupils seek to beautify they will be unwilling to have marred or defaced. A refined taste, a love of order, and a habit of care-taking will be encouraged; and the spirit of fellowship and co-operation developed will prove to the pupils a lifelong blessing. {Ed 212.2}
  • Let proper methods be taught to all who are willing to learn. …. Demonstrate what can be done with the land when properly worked. {MH 193.4


  • So also a new interest may be given to the work of the garden or the excursion in field or wood, as the pupils are encouraged to remember those shut in from these pleasant places and to share with them the beautiful things of nature. {Ed 213.1}
  • A return to simpler methods will be appreciated by the children and youth. {6T 179.1}
  • Work in the garden and field will be an agreeable change from the wearisome routine of abstract lessons, to which their young minds should never be confined. To the nervous child, who finds lessons from books exhausting and hard to remember, it will be especially valuable.

Beneficial results of this

There is health and happiness for him in the study of nature; and the impressions made will not fade out of his mind, for they will be associated with objects that are continually before his eyes.   {6T 179.1}

Places that are conducive should be checked

  • There is some thought of moving the Healdsburg school to a rural district, where the students will have more opportunity to engage in agriculture, carpentering, and other lines of manual work; and Brother Cady is on the lookout for a suitable place. Letter 141, 1904, p. 2. (To Edson and Emma White, April 27, 1904.) {1MR 325.2}

…There is room within her vast boundaries for schools to be established where grounds can be cleared and land cultivated. This work is essential to the education most favorable to spiritual advancement; for nature’s voice is the voice of Christ, teaching us innumerable lessons of love and power and submission and perseverance. Some do not appreciate the value of agricultural work. These should not plan for our schools, for they will hold everything from advancing in right lines. In the past their influence has been a hindrance.  {6T 178.1}

Courage and perseverance

James  5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

James  5:8   Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Thorough work is to be done in cultivating the land, and from this the students are to learn how necessary it is to do thorough work in cultivating the garden of the heart.  {PCO 20.5)


If the land is cultivated, it will, with the blessing of God, supply our necessities.


We are not to be discouraged about temporal things because of apparent failures, nor should we be disheartened by delay.


We should work the soil cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in her bosom rich stores for the faithful worker to garner, stores richer than gold or silver.

The niggardliness laid to her charge is false witness. With proper, intelligent cultivation the earth will yield its treasures for the benefit of man. The mountains and hills are changing; the earth is waxing old like a garment; but the blessing of God, which spreads a table for His people in the wilderness, will never cease.  {6T 178.2}

 Moral lesson

The earth is God’s own creation, and he calls it very good. The hands may become hard and rough, but this hardness need not extend to the soul. The heart need not become careless, nor the soul defiled. The effeminate paleness may be tanned from the countenance, but the testimony of health is seen in the red and brown of the complexion. Christlikeness may be preserved in the farmer’s life. Men may learn, in cultivating the soil, precious lessons about the cultivation of the Spirit. {ST, August 13, 1896 par. 9}


The exercise of tact and skill.


With proper, intelligent cultivation the earth will yield its treasures for the benefit of man. The mountains and hills are changing; the earth is waxing old like a garment; but the blessing of God, which spreads a table for His people in the wilderness, will never cease.  {6T 178.2}


Every branch of the work is to be conducted in the most thorough and systematic ways that long experience and wisdom can enable us to plan and execute.  {6T 191.1}


Let the teachers wake up to the importance of this subject and teach agriculture and other industries that it is essential for the students to understand. Seek in every department of labor to reach the very best results.

Let the science of the word of God be brought into the work, that the students may understand correct principles and may reach the highest possible standard. Exert your God-given abilities, and bring all your energies into the development of the Lord’s farm.



Study and labor, that the best results and the greatest returns may come from the seed sowing, that there may be an abundant supply of food, both temporal and spiritual, for the increased number of students that shall be gathered in to be trained as Christian workers. {6T 191.2}


Scientific knowledge should not be ignored


Farmers should not think that agriculture is a business that is not elevated enough for their sons. Agriculture should be advanced by scientific knowledge. {ST, August 13, 1896 par. 8}


Instructions should be given by skilled instructors

Instruction should be given in agriculture, manufactures,–covering as many as possible of the most useful trades,–also in household economy, healthful cookery, sewing, hygienic dressmaking, the treatment of the sick, and kindred lines. Gardens, workshops, and treatment rooms should be provided, and the work in every line should be under the direction of skilled instructors.  {Ed 218.1}


 The work should have a definite aim and should be thorough. While every person needs some knowledge of different handicrafts, it is indispensable that he become proficient in at least one. Every youth, on leaving school, should have acquired a knowledge of some trade or occupation by which, if need be, he may earn a livelihood.  {Ed 218.2}

Which skills are needed?

In the study of agriculture, let pupils be given not only theory, but practice. While they learn what science can teach in regard to the nature and

  1. preparation of the soil,
  2. the value of different crops,
  • and the best methods of production,

…let them put their knowledge to use. Let teachers share the work with the students, and show what results can be achieved through skillful, intelligent effort. Thus may be awakened a genuine interest, an ambition to do the work in the best possible manner. Such an ambition, together with the invigorating effect of exercise, sunshine, and pure air, will create a love for agricultural labor that with many youth will determine their choice of an occupation. Thus might be set on foot influences that would go far in turning the tide of migration which now sets so strongly toward the great cities.  {Ed 219.2}


Farming has been pronounced unprofitable. People say that the soil does not pay for the labor expended upon it, and they bemoan the hard fate of those who till the soil. In this country (Australia) many have given up the idea that the land will pay for working it, and thousands of acres lie unimproved. But should persons of proper ability take hold of this line of employment, and make a study of the soil, and learn

  1. how to plant,
  2. to cultivate, and
  • to gather in the harvest, more encouraging results might be seen. Many say, “We have tried agriculture, and know what its results are,” and yet these very ones need to know how to cultivate the soil, and to bring science into their work.
  1. Their plowshares should cut deeper,
  2. broader furrows, and they need to learn that in tilling the soil they need not become common and coarse in their natures. Let them learn to bring religion into their work. Let them learn
  3. to put in the seed in its season,
  • to give attention to vegetation, and
  • to follow the plan that God has devised. {ST, August 13, 1896 par. 8}

Learn how to work with garden implements

Students  are learning what plowing means and that the hoe and the shovel, the rake and the harrow, are all implements of honorable and profitable industry. 6T 192.1}


Mistakes done and corrected

Mistakes will often be made, but every error lies close beside the truth. Wisdom will be learned by failures, and the energy that will make a beginning gives hope of success in the end. Hesitation will keep things back, precipitancy will alike retard; but all will serve as lessons if the human agent will have it so.   {6T 192.1}

Time management exercised

It is by diligent labor, by putting to the wisest use every capability, by learning to waste no time, that they will become successful in improving their premises and cultivating their land.  {6T 188.3} 

A blessing to others and co-laborers with Christ

We are to learn from the Book of books the principles upon which we are to live and labor. By consecrating all our God-given abilities to Him who has the first right to them, we may make precious advances in everything that is worthy of our attention.  {6T 189.2}

The Lord has ordained channels through which He lets flow His goodness, mercy, and truth; and we are to be co-workers with Christ in communicating to others practical wisdom and benevolence. We are to bring brightness and blessing into their lives, thus doing a good and holy work.  {6T 190.1}


Final Warnings!!!


“The storm is coming relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it?” — Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 315 • EGW

“If we have in any way grieved or wounded others, it is our duty to confess our fault and seek for reconciliation. This is an essential preparation that we may come before God in faith, to ask His blessing.” — Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 144 • EGW

“Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one.” — Country Living, p. 9-10 • EGW

“Erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities, that those who wish to leave them will not be able.” — Country Living, p. 11 • EGW

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