Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Observations from the Garden

I love the outdoors and try to spend as much time as possible enjoying it.  Even under the curse where all of creation is groaning and waiting for redemption (Rom 8:18-23), there is much beauty to behold.  In my spiritual walk over the years I have learned to take time and observe the workings of nature around me.  God’s glory, majesty and power are all displayed if we care to pay attention. 

Paul speaks of this general revelation when he says that the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and deity are understood through the created order (Rom 1: 20).  I like how the Westminster Confession of Faith puts it:

Sec. 1.  Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.

I also like to garden.  Christ used horticulture/agriculture many times in His parables to teach valuable kingdom truths (Mt 13:3-9; 13:31; 17:20; Jn 15:1-5).  It is my belief that we can still learn lessons by observing the created order around us, especially by watching things grow.  I have a yellow knockout rose bush that has a wonderful smell and beautiful yellow blooms that appear all summer long.  I have been observing its growth/bloom cycle carefully since this is my first year growing this particular rose.  

It struck me the other day how its cycle could give me a lesson in my Christian walk.   I noticed that it did not bloom continually but took rests in-between.  During this time it sends out a lot of new robust growth and then new buds appear for the next bloom cycle.  It repeats this process all summer long until it goes into dormancy for the winter.

In our Christian walk we also have growth/bloom cycles.  We need those times where we really need to focus on our growth, renewing our mind, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in order for our fruit (blooms) to be abundant.  If my rose bush had beautiful foliage but never produced any blooms it would give me cause for concern.  Likewise, if we grow abundantly in the knowledge of God yet never produce any fruit (blooms) for the advancement of the kingdom we should also have cause for concern.  The same is true if we bloom continually without having the proper growth to support that blooming, we will soon become weak and mal-nourished which will cause reduced fruit (bloom) production.  Proper balance is key as with all things.

So, I hope you enjoyed our time spent in the garden.  My rose bush is very healthy and doing well by the way.  I hope you will take time every single day to stop and smell the roses.  God’s wonderful creation can teach us much if only we will take the time to observe.

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