Friday, June 3, 2011

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

This morning the father at our church began a homily about a violinist and how it requires work and dedication. I have been thinking about the words he said as I worked in my backyard to finish up my little project. It's something that should have taken me a few hours on a single day, but instead it's taken me about a week to finish. I simply can't do it as fast as I used to, but I keep plugging at it.

I've been working on a few raised beds for lettuce. We had taken out some landscape timbers from the center of the yard, because the area around the tree wasn't being used for flowers and was simply overrun with weeds. Much easier for me to mow it down and keep it done. Nothing grows very well in the shade of a tree anyway. So I wanted to reuse those timbers and create an area for our lettuce, kale and other cruciferous vegetables.

I have learned from the years of working in construction as a lead man and foreman that to really do something right takes not only hard work, but also time and planning. I've also learned from my parents over the years that preparing a bed for a garden requires building it properly. You have to make sure the foundation is strong. Then you have to build on that foundation. In the case of a bed you need a good layer of weed block, newspaper, and mulch in order to kill down any unwanted weeds. We don't want the weeds stealing the nutrients and water from our food plants. Then you need some good, organic, (vegetable in my case) based compost. This puts food in the new soil for feeding the plants. On top of that finally goes the top soil. All of which creates an environment in which plants can thrive. Without any of them they might grow, but they don't thrive.

You see our soul is much like a garden bed. It requires planning, preperation, and a good strong foundation. The first thing we have to do is build the base, that is the foundation. The bible tells us that Paul built his foundation on Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. Any other foundation is not the proper one and will just fail to stand. It will fall apart, and eventually the world will destroy that garden bed through wind and rain.

Once we've established our foundation, we've got to put in the weed block! Our soul is constantly under attack by the things of this world. From sexual images everywhere, to a nearly constant barragement of improper language; we constantly are having things in our lives that effect how we think. Remember this simply phrase, Garbage in Garbage out. The most effective weed block for your soul is God himself. We lay down our weedblock by studying his word, spending time in prayer with him, keeping our minds on the things of God and not of this world.

Next we need a good, nutritious soil and compost. We are reminded many times that we need the word of God to nourish us. Jesus even told Satan in the desert, “It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. We feed our soul (plant) by continuing to dwell on God's word. This is a two fold thing! God's word is both the Bible, AND the Lord Jesus Christ. You feed your soul by both reading and studying scripture, AND through communion with God! Receiving Jesus into your body as often as possible, making it a holy place where God dwells instead of a worldly soul full of dust and cobwebs.

Once we have these things in place, we simply need to keep adding them over time. It's not enough to simply experience it once, living with God is a permanent life. We must be obedient, we must be repentant and we must strive to be Holy and continue to ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to be the person that God wants us to be! The word repent is not a single word, but a verb! It's a way of life. We need to confess our sins as often as we can, and turn away from them. Reconcile yourself to God, and watch as the grace flows in your life.

I pray that God will touch each of your hearts today, and fill you with that overwhelming love that He has shown me today. That you will be touched by the sadness as well that I have felt from God towards sin. May each of you come to know Christ as a personal savior, and continue to live in community with the members of His body. Serving one another as He, the King of the Universe, came to serve you and I. May you be filled with God's spirit in such abundance that when people look upon your face, they see the glow of God's presence as was seen in the face of Moses! And may others when they look upon you, not see you, but instead see Christ that lives in your heart.

In Christ,