I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out.

I don't understand "who puts back into the soil what he takes out". Please help me to paraphrase this sentence.

3 Answers 3


The farmer/soil analogy is explained by the word replenish: to make full or complete again by supplying what has been used up or is lacking.

The meaning of the sentence is that, like the farmer who cares for the soil by adding to it after harvesting his crops, people must not only take from things in their lives, but must also give back/care for/replenish - the earth, their friends/family, their society - whatever the author is referring to in life.


When a farmer harvests his crop, the vegetables he is removing contain minerals that previously lay in the soil. The soil cannot continue to produce vegetables indefinitely if those minerals are not replaced (for instance, by adding manure, compost or artificial fertilizer). Those replacement minerals are what the farmer puts back into the soil to compensate for what he has taken out.


The expression "who puts back into the soil what he takes out" is really is a biblical reference: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48b NIV) Both President John F. Kennedy, and Rose Kennedy brought this quote back into popularity

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