Wednesday, 13 July 2011
"Consider the lilies of the field - they neither toil or spin, yet Solomon, in all of his glory, was not arrayed as these". Jesus.
I am not, in any way, shape, or form, a gardener, and yet, once every year, I get a very special pleasure from my property....
Along the front of my house are arranged five large pots, each one housing an azalea plant. I do very little for these residents - I've re-potted them once in the six years I've been here, and occasionally watered them if it's been especially dry - that's it, and yet, every Spring, these amazing plants burst into a splendid display of colour which equals anything coaxed and nurtured by many a patient gardener on my estate. For around the next six weeks, the locals can often be heard making comments on the beauty of the display, and then, for the next twelve months, the Azalea rests, looking a very plain and ordinary plant, and the front of my home goes back to being pretty much ignored.
I recently realised there's a real lesson here. God is a far better gardener - a furnisher of life - than I could ever be, and when He adorns something, it is truly beautiful. Now I'm not for one minute wanting to in any way put down those who truly enjoy gardening as a way of discovering that truth, any more than I would negate the joy for an artist who encounters true moments of inspiration, but creation is truly His work, not just when it comes to my pot plants, but even more when it comes to our redemption.
Much of the time, it probably appears to ourselves and others that not a great deal is going on - we go through our daily routines, seeking to move forward in the faith, but not really aware of much happening, because like with so many things, the real work goes on at a deep level, behind closed doors as it were, until the right time comes for something to be made evident. What really matters here is confidence in the work not of our hands, but of God's.
Jesus knew just how easy it was for us to concern ourselves with all manner of issues that can bury us beneath our anxiety. Imagine what results a gardener would achieve if he spent most of his time pulling plants out of the soil to check if there'd been any change! Worry, not only about earthly things, but often about spiritual matters as well, can amount to our doing something equally as foolish, because there is only one place of true comfort and surety, and that is within the grip of His amazing grace. Here, He grants us a rest, for the burden of being His is far easier than the strife and turmoil which any other "process' proscribes.
Take a look at the beauty that surrounds us, and consider these things...