Yesterday, in preparation for yet another open house, Jeff and I did some weeding, sweeping, and general yard clean up. I hate yard work. I am definitely NOT one of those people who feels the need for a lot of land, a big yard, beautiful landscaping and gardens, etc. In point of truth, I'm probably lazy but the thought of all that outside work makes me cringe. Give me air conditioning and a good book any day!
Anyway, while we were pulling weeds, I was lost in thought. And, as my writer's mind is prone to do, I started to think about all the biblical analogies in which the authors compared the christian life to a garden or plant. Psalm 1 and John 15 come to mind immediately and I know there are others. I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts.
When we began weeding yesterday morning, Sawyer was more than willing to help us. He pulled and sang and talked and we had a nice time chatting. Later, after Sawyer had moved on to practice his "pitching" skills, I was going over the area where he had been "weeding". I noticed that Sawyer's idea of weeding was merely pulling off the top of the offending plant. In most cases, he left the roots. I had to go behind him and pull out the roots that he had missed.
Isn't this just like our christian walk? When we are young and immature in Christ, we often deal with sins on the surface, forgetting that there is almost always a larger root problem that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, just like I came alongside Sawyer, God will bless us with a more mature christian to disciple and encourage us and help us get to the "root" of our sin so we can grow in him without those sinful "weeds" bogging us down. If we neglect to deal with these root sins, just like those weeds in my flower bed, those sins will continue to creep up and hinder our walk with Christ.
Another one of our tasks yesterday was sweeping off the driveway. Now, I admit, I don't see much point in sweeping the driveway, as it seems to me the wind is just going to blow the leaves, etc. right back onto it before we finish. But Jeff seems to think that driveway sweeping is an important part of yard work. The kids got things started but, sure enough, there was a good breeze and almost as soon as they swept things off, the wind blew them right back. I was ready to "hang up the broom" but Jeff insisted and so we kept sweeping. Eventually, our hard work paid off and I was forced to admit that the driveway did indeed look better when we had finished.
How often, when we are going through a difficult time (like trying against all odds to sell a home) are we tempted to give up and "hang up the broom", missing the blessings that God has for us? I admit that I have asked God on more than one occasion what he is trying to teach us through various trials. Sometimes we get the answer but, more often than not, we don't. However, a godly reaction to trials and an attempt to learn what God has for us through them will always pay off, even if things don't necessarily turn out the way we had hoped and prayed.
And, just like our home with its clean driveway and weeded flower beds will hopefully look more appealing to someone today during the open house, a godly reaction to trials makes our lives more pleasing to God and more appealing to those around us who may be watching to see how we handle the trials that God sends our way. Of course, no one enjoys the hard times and no one wants to be in the position of asking God "why?". But hopefully, knowing that we have been become more like Him through the trial or knowing that even one person has come to Christ because of our testimony in a trying time will make it easier to cling to Him and trust that He has a perfect plan for our lives.
Finally, there was the matter of the portable basketball net. We have one that the boys use almost every day and it was sitting in the middle of the driveway while we happily swept and weeded all around it, no one bothering to actually move it out of the way. Later, when I needed to leave to run an errand, I pushed the basketball net out of the way and, sure enough, dead leaves blew all over the previously swept-clean driveway.
Immediately I thought about those "hidden sins" or maybe they should be called "respectable sins" that we would rather hide and clean around than deal with. Maybe it's something like a request for prayer that's really gossip or a little white lie that we think won't matter anyway or even keeping that extra ten dollars that the cashier handed us because after all "she was grumpy and slow".
Inevitably, God uses something or someone to push away that "basketball net" and reveal our ugliness in all of its sinful glory. But, if we would take time to daily assess our lives in light of God's word, this painful "moving of the basketball net" wouldn't be as frequent or as painful. And we would realize that there is no such thing as a "respectable sin" in the eyes of a holy God.
So there you have it. My musings on weeding and sweeping and yard work. Isn't it just like God to use something I dislike so much to teach me even more about himself and "life in the light of his word"?